He also effectively led the Popular Mobilisation units (PM), an umbrella of militias in Iraq dominated by groups aligned with Iran. Soleimani's killing marks a major escalation in tensions between Washington and Tehran. Baghdad is the largest city and capital of Iraq, being the second largest city in West Asia. But the terrorist group still maintains sleeper cells in large areas of Iraq and periodically launches attacks. Alert: If you are facing problems with posting comments, please note that you must verify your email with Disqus prior to posting a comment. Franz Ferdinand and #WWIII: Why are these words trending? Last night, they started a military war. There are concerns, too, that the killing on Iraqi soil could have a destabilizing effect on that country and create space for a new proxy war, according to Feisal Istrabadi, the founding director of the Indiana University Center for the Study of the Middle East told CNN. "This strike was aimed at deterring future Iranian attack plans," it added. Turn on desktop notifications for breaking stories about interest? By assassinating, by an act of terror, against one of our top generals," he told CNN. US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and the State Department's special representative for Iran, Brian Hook, said the strike was aimed at deterring impending attacks. Hassan Nasrallah, head of the Iran-backed Lebanese militant and political group Hezbollah, has also vowed to avenge the killings, while Israel is assessing its security following the attacks, including at its diplomatic missions around the world. We did not take action to start a war," Trump said in a statement from his Mar-a-Lago resort on Friday, a day after a US drone strike on a Baghdad airport killed … Some key members of Congress -- such as Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, a New York Democrat who is a member of the congressional Gang of Eight leaders, who are briefed on classified matters -- had not been made aware of the attack ahead of time. Iraq's elite Counter-Terrorism Service said on Monday it had arrested the "administrative chief" of the Islamic State group after his arrival at Baghdad airport. "This is a huge deal throughout the Middle East. Republicans reacted with almost uniform praise for Trump. Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said "severe revenge awaits the criminals" behind the attack. The move marks a major escalation in regional tensions that have pitted Tehran against Washington and its allies in the Middle East, Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis -- the deputy head of the Iran-backed Iraqi Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF) -- was also killed, according to a statement from the PMF, which said the pair "were martyred by an American strike.". Where are we in the COVID-19 vaccine race? Iran has acknowledged the role of the Quds Force in the conflicts in Syria, where it has advised forces supporting President Bashar al-Assad and armed thousands of Shia Muslim militiamen fighting alongside them, and in Iraq, where it has backed a Shia-dominated paramilitary force that helped tackle IS. For details please see our data policy. U.S. troops invaded Iraq in 2003 and left in 2011 but returned in 2014 after the Islamic State group overran large parts of Iraq. Major General Yahya Rasool said on Monday the Iraqi Counter-Terrorism Service had been tracking the terrorist known as "Abu Nabaa" until he arrived in Iraq where he arranged to meet with the group's members in the outskirts of Baghdad. 1 month...$12 | 3 months...$30 | 6 months...$55 | 1 year...$99, Lebanon confirms 1,636 new coronavirus cases, 16 deaths, Qatar coastguard stops two Bahraini vessels - Bahrain ministry, Biden transition gets OK after Trump out of options, Oil tanker hit by blast at Saudi terminal, Barakat: overspending responsible for financial gap, Pound marginally rises, trading at LL8,225, Aramco says supplies unaffected by Jeddah attack, UAE eases limits on foreign ownership to attract investors, Bitcoin climbs to three-year peak, all-time high in focus, BDL declines Alvarez request for documents, Mysterious desert obelisk provokes amused theories, Bruce, the ‘Jaws’ shark, hanged at museum, Theater reopens in COVID-devastated Italian town, ‘Ma Rainey’ is Boseman’s final, finest gift, 'I want to break free': Underground Paris party defies lockdown, EU reaches deal for supply of 160 mln doses of Moderna COVID-19 vaccine. Iran's most powerful military figure was regarded as the strategic mastermind behind its vast ambition in the Middle East and the country's real foreign minister when it came to matters of war and peace. … Iraq's anti-government protesters, who have been staging a demonstration for months in Baghdad's Tahrir Square, condemned America for violating Iraq's sovereignty and "committing assassinations of Iraqi figures." He was killed at Baghdad airport, along with other Iran-backed militia figures, early on Friday in a strike ordered by US President Donald Trump. The president-elect describes the Trump administration's help with the transition as not "begrudging". Video, Pandemic highlights anger at Amazon in France, Meghan: Duchess of Sussex tells of miscarriage 'pain and grief', The Weeknd calls Grammy Awards 'corrupt' after nominations snub, US election 2020: Biden says White House co-operation 'sincere', 'Hello Greta!