General Qasem Soleimani, the head of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards’ elite Quds Force, has been killed by US forces in Iraq.
General Soleimani was reportedly being driven by car at the Baghdad Airport, alongside local Iran-backed militias, when he was hit by a US air strike.
Iran’s Foreign Minister, Javad Zarif had called the strikes “extremely dangerous and a foolish escalation”.
General Soleimani was a major figure in the Iranian regime.
The General’s Quds Force reported directly to Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, and he was hailed as a heroic national figure.
The Pentagon confirmed he was killed “at the direction of the President”; US President Donald Trump tweeted an image of the American flag after the news broke.
Meanwhile, global oil prices soared more than 4 per cent in the wake of the strike, raising concerns that escalating Middle East tensions may disrupt oil supplies.
Markets fear that Iran could avenge the killing of one of its top military leaders, by attacking assets of the US and its allies, in the Middle East.
Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has said, “severe revenge awaits the criminals behind the attack”.