Thursday, Congressman and U.S. Senate candidate Bradley Byrne, R-Montrose, defended President Donald J. Trump’s (R) decision to order a drone strike that killed Iran’s highest ranking general, Lt. General Qasem Soleimani, outside of the Baghdad Airport.
“Soleimani was responsible for the death of American citizens and just ordered an attack on our embassy,” Byrne said. “Remarkable to see some people trying to attack our President for taking decisive action.”
“Tonight President @realDonaldTrump and the United States sent a clear message to Iran and the world. Unlike the disaster in Benghazi, this entire situation shows the importance of decisive action and strong leadership.,” Byrne said on social media.”
The Pentagon released a statement announcing the assasination of General Soleimani.
“At the direction of the President, the U.S. military has taken decisive defensive action to protect U.S. personnel abroad by killing Qasem Soleimani, the head of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps-Quds Force, a U.S.-designated Foreign Terrorist Organization,” the Pentagon stated. “General Soleimani was actively developing plans to attack American diplomats and service members in Iraq and throughout the region. General Soleimani and his Quds Force were responsible for the deaths of hundreds of American and coalition service members and the wounding of thousands more. He had orchestrated attacks on coalition bases in Iraq over the last several months – including the attack on December 27th – culminating in the death and wounding of additional American and Iraqi personnel. General Soleimani also approved the attacks on the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad that took place this week.”
“This strike was aimed at deterring future Iranian attack plans,” the Pentagon explained. “The United States will continue to take all necessary action to protect our people and our interests wherever they are around the world.”
Iranian backed Shia militias in Iraq and Syria launched a series of rocket attacks on American bases in the region. An American contractor was killed and four American soldiers were wounded in the attacks.
In response, Pres. Trump ordered air strikes by F-15 Strike Eagles on the Shia militias in both Iraq and Syria.
On Wednesday, in response to the air strikes, an Iraqi Shia mob stormed the American embassy in Baghdad. The Marines and diplomats fell back to a defensible positions, while the mob vandalized the embassy.
President Trump ordered that a 100 Marine rapid strike team be rushed to support the embassy in an Osprey transport, while two Apache helicopters provided air cover. U.S. forces regained control of the embassy and the militants have fled. There were no American casualties in the attack on the Embassy.
The Pentagon has dispatched 750 U.S. Army Airborne soldiers to the region and informed over 3,000 troops that they need to be ready to deploy overseas if needed.
On Thursday, an American drone fired four missiles at two vehicles near the Baghdad Airport killing General Soleimani and his entourage. Also killed was Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis who was the deputy commander of the Shia militias and responsible for leading the attack on the American embassy.
Gen. Soleimani had just flown in to Baghdad from Damascus, Syria. Soleimani is responsible for the deaths of hundreds of Americans over his career. The General has shaped Iranian foreign policy across the Middle East for years.
The Iranian TV newscaster and Iranian military spokesman Ramezan Sharif broke down and wept when announcing the death of the top Iranian military commander.
Iranian Defense Minister Amir Hatami vowed to get “a crushing revenge.”
Iranian supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei took to Twitter to vent his outrage.
“All friends-&-enemies know that Jihad or resistance will continue with more motivation & definite victory awaits the fighters of this blessed path,” Khamenei said. “The loss of our dear General is bitter. The continuing fight and ultimate victory will be more bitter for the murderers & criminals.”
Critics of the President warned that the move brings the U.S. much closer to war with Iran.
“Trump’s dangerous escalation brings us closer to another disastrous war in the Middle East that could cost countless lives and trillions more dollars,” said Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vermont.
Byrne represents Alabama’s First Congressional District. Rep. Byrne is running for the Republican nomination for the Senate seat currently held by Doug Jones, D-Alabama.
The Republican primary will be on March 3.
Original reporting by Fox News, the Daily Mail, and the New York Times contributed to this report.