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Trump 'taunts' Iran on Twitter amid speculation US ordered Soleimani death strike

Trump tweeted a picture of a US flag without a caption [Getty]

Date of publication: 3 January, 2020

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US President Donald Trump appeared to celebrate on Twitter after reports emerged that powerful Iranian commander Qassem Soleimani had been killed.
US President Donald Trump appeared to celebrate on Twitter in the immediate aftermath of reports that powerful Iranian commander Gen. Qassem Soleimani had been killed in an airstrike in Baghdad.

The president on Friday tweeted a picture of the US flag in what has widely been received as a display of jubilation over Soleimani's death.

Shortly after the president's tweet, the Pentagon confirmed that a strike on the Al Quds Force commander had been carried out on Trump's orders.

The image, which was tweeted without an accompanying caption, prompted thousands of responses from supporters celebrating the US strike.

"I have never been more proud to be American and to have such a great president. There are no more fake red lines, don’t mess with the USA," wrote one Twitter user.

Others, meanwhile, blasted the president's decision, which appears to have been carried out without congressional approval.

"And he’s doing it unilaterally without the approval of a declaration of war against Iran by Congress. This is totally an abuse of power that would require immediate removal," wrote another.

The attack came amid tensions with the United States after a New Year's Eve attack by Iran-backed militias on the US Embassy in Baghdad. The two-day embassy attack which ended Wednesday prompted President Donald Trump to order about 750 US soldiers deployed to the Middle East.

The breach at the embassy followed US airstrikes on Sunday that killed 25 fighters of the Iran-backed militia in Iraq, the Kataeb Hezbollah. The US military said the strikes were in retaliation for last week’s killing of an American contractor in a rocket attack on an Iraqi military base that the US blamed on the militia.

US officials suggested they were prepared to engage in further retaliatory attacks in Iraq.

“The game has changed,” Defense Secretary Mark Esper said Thursday, telling reporters that violent acts by Iran-backed Shia militias in Iraq — including the rocket attack on Dec. 27 that killed one American — will be met with US military force.

Soleimani's assassination marks a dramatic escalation in hostilities between Washington and Tehran, with Iran widely expected to retaliate. 

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