Local elected officials reacted on Friday to the assassination of a top Iranian military official in Iraq.
Republican Congressman Brian Fitzpatrick from Middletown offered little on his thoughts on the killing of Commander General Qasem Soleimani, Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, a deputy commander of Iranian-supported Iraqi militias, and several others in a Thursday strike on their convoy near Baghdad airport:
“Qasem Soleimani, leader of Iran’s Quds force, is directly responsible for the deaths of hundreds of American servicemen and servicewomen. Soleimani perpetuated the Iranian regime’s destabilizing proxy wars across the Middle East and carried out numerous terrorist attacks on behalf of Iran—the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism. According to the Defense Department, Soleimani was imminently plotting even more attacks on American servicemen and servicewomen, and therefore the air strike was needed to protect our American soldiers, diplomats, and civilians serving in critical missions in the region. Iran’s attacks on the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad, their mounting aggression against the United States in the region, and their direct and imminent threats to Americans serving in critical missions abroad cannot be ignored.”
Fitzpatrick’s statement that was emailed to reporters echoed a release made by the U.S. Department of Defense. His office did not respond to a request for more comment as of late Friday afternoon.
“Qasem Soleimani was responsible for the murder of hundreds of Americans. The world is a better place now that he is dead. Every American should be grateful to our armed forces who carried out this strike with incredible skill and precision. The Trump administration was right to restore deterrence against Iran,” Sen. Pat Toomey, a Republican who represents Pennsylvania.
Sen. Bob Casey, a Democrat who serves Pennsylvania, released the following statement:
“Qassim Suleimani was a military figure who inflicted terror and killed thousands in Israel, Iraq, Syria and other places. He was directly responsible for the killing of hundreds of American soldiers and civilians. The world is safer with him gone.
The Trump Administration must provide a full briefing to Congress next week regarding the following:
The intelligence used to authorize the strike;
The legal basis for the strike;
The nature of the threat articulated by the Pentagon in its statement last night; and
The preparations and planning the Administration has undertaken regarding potential retaliation by the Iranian regime against Americans abroad and here at home.
I have grave concerns that President Trump and his Administration have not provided the American people with a comprehensive strategy on Iran. Finally, this and other recent actions by the Administration have been taken without a Congressionally-approved Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF). As we prepare for fallout in the coming days, Congress has a critical role to play in assessing the legality of the strike, understanding its impact on U.S. national security and conducting oversight over this Administration’s actions abroad.”
Soleimani was the commander general of Iran’s Quds Force, a branch of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps. The organization, according to American officials, supports terrorist organizations and militias in the Middle East. The U.S. government designated the group a terrorist organization last year.
The Department of Defense said in an overnight statement that “General Soleimani was actively developing plans to attack American diplomats and service members in Iraq and throughout the region.” They also stated the attack on the convoy was to design for “deterring future Iranian attack plans.”
“Soleimani was both hated and feared,” President Donald Trump said in a Friday Tweet. “He should have been taken out many years ago!”
Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the supreme leader of Iran, promised a strong response for the assassination.
Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif said the assassination was an “extremely dangerous & a foolish escalation” by America.