Iran's top general Soleimani killed in US strike

By Jessie Yeung, Fernando Alfonso III, Tara John, Julia Hollingsworth, Rob Picheta, Mike Hayes, CNN

Updated 4:26 a.m. ET, January 4, 2020
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12:40 p.m. ET, January 3, 2020

US to deploy thousands of additional troops to Middle East following Soleimani killing

From CNN's Ryan Browne

Paratroopers assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division, deploy from Pope Army Airfield in North Carolina on January 1.
Paratroopers assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division, deploy from Pope Army Airfield in North Carolina on January 1. Capt. Robyn Haake/US Army/AFP/Getty Images

The US will deploy thousands of additional troops to the Middle East as tensions with Iran mount following the airstrike that killed Qasem Soleimani, a US defense official told CNN.

The additional troops will come from the Immediate Response Force of the 82nd Airborne Division. CNN has previously reported that these forces had been placed on prepare-to-deploy orders and would be sent to the region if the situation merited it. 

Following the disturbance at the US embassy in Baghdad, the US deployed 750 troops from the same unit and said that additional deployments were possible. 

The new deployment will encompass the rest of the brigade, typically about 3,000 soldiers.

12:51 p.m. ET, January 3, 2020

Afghanistan's president: We will not be the starting point of any attack "against a third country"

Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani during a meeting with US President Donald Trump at Bagram Airfield on November 28, 2019.
Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani during a meeting with US President Donald Trump at Bagram Airfield on November 28, 2019. Olivier Douliery/AFP/Getty Images

Afghanistan's President Ashraf Ghani says the United States and Iran should “solve their disputes through dialogue" following the killing of Iranian General Qasem Soleimani.

“We call on our great neighbor Iran — with which we share similarities in language, religion, history and culture — and the United States of America, which is a strategic and fundamental partner of Afghanistan, to prevent tensions and we hope that both sides can solve their disputes through dialogue,” the Afghan leader said in a statement.

Ghani went on to assure Afghans and neighboring countries that Afghanistan will not be the starting point of any attacks "against a third country or other regional countries," a point he emphasized in a call with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

3:09 p.m. ET, January 3, 2020

Schumer on Soleimani: "No one should shed a tear over his death"

Watch below: Schumer criticizes Trump for lack of advance notice

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said on the Senate floor moments ago that "no one should shed a tear" over the death of Qasem Soleimani, the top general and one of the most powerful men in Iran.

However, Schumer criticized the lack of advance notification from President Trump on the attack.

"The operation against Soleimani in Iraq was conducted, however, without specific authorization and any advance notification or consultation with congress. I'm a member of the gang of 8, which is typically briefed in advance of operations of this level of significance. We were not," Schumer said.
12:29 p.m. ET, January 3, 2020

Iran's Islamic Revolution Guards Corps calls Soleimani killing an act of "revenge"

From CNN's Chandler Thornton 

Brigadier General Ramazan Sharif, spokesman for Iran's Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC), said the killing of General Qasem Soleimani was America's "revenge" after Soleimani defeated ISIS.

In an interview with Iranian state-funded Press TV, Sharif said that "was a major blow to the US investments and the investments by their allies."

"And the downfall of Daesh (ISIS) harmed the Americans so they were after taking revenge from General Soleimani for this failure that they experienced," he said.  

Sharif also referenced the downing of a US drone by Iran in June, "so two major defeats for the Americans and this showed that the Islamic Republic of Iran has major capacities for punishing the Americans and taking revenge from them."

Sharif warned of Soleimani's killing, "Americans should await anger and wrath by the resistance front that is extended through the world of Islam."

The spokesman concluded: "In an optimistic perspective, I can tell you that there was great developed hatred towards Americans in Iraq and this martyr has increased the Iraqi people's hatred toward Americans and that will eventually lead to the withdrawal of Americans from West Asia." 

5:02 p.m. ET, January 3, 2020

McConnell asks senators to "wait to review the facts" before passing judgment on airstrike

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, speaking on the floor, said there will be a briefing later today for key Senate staffers on the drone strike in Iraq that killed Iran’s top military commander Qasem Soleimani.

"We are working to arrange a classified briefing for all senators next week," he said.

McConnell added that he is asking senators to withhold judgment about the raid until then.

"I recommend all senators wait to review the facts and hear from [the White House] before passing much of a judgment on this operation and its potential consequences," he said.


12:18 p.m. ET, January 3, 2020

House intel chairman will be briefed today on the attack

From CNN's Manu Raju 

House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff will get briefed today by US officials on the killing of Iran’s top commander, according to an aide.

12:21 p.m. ET, January 3, 2020

Officials say New York City is country's top terror target

From CNN's Laura Ly

Mayor Bill de Blasio said New York City is now "potentially facing a threat that's different and greater than anything we have faced previously."

"Over the last 20 years, this city more than any other has suffered the results of terrorism. The terrorism inflicted upon us came from non-state actors, came from very dangerous terrorist movements and individuals," de Blasio said in a press conference he held moments ago to address how the killing of Soleimani will affect New York City.

De Blasio also said that as of Thursday night, there was "a de-facto state of war between the United States of America and Iran."

"None of us knows how this will play out. It will likely take weeks and months, maybe even years before we see where this all goes. But we have never confronted in recent decades the reality of a war with a government of a large country with an international terror network at its behest. And no one has to be reminded that New York City is the number one terror target in the United States. So we have to recognize that this creates a whole series of dangerous possibilities for our city," de Blasio said. 

De Blasio added that while he was happy that Soleimani is dead, he believes the US should not go to war with Iran. 

The announcement from de Blasio comes after police departments in Boston and Los Angeles said they were monitoring the situation in Iran.

12:14 p.m. ET, January 3, 2020

Soleimani's "terrorist leadership has ended," McConnell says

Speaking on the Senate floor, Republican Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said, "no man alive was more directly responsible for the deaths of more American servicemembers than Qasem Soleimani."

"Now his terrorist leadership has ended," McConnell said. He added that "for too long, this evil man operated without constraint."

The GOP senator said he anticipates and welcomes debate about America's policy in the Middle East after this strike.

12:12 p.m. ET, January 3, 2020

McConnell: Soleimani was a "terrorist mastermind"

Senate TV
Senate TV

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, speaking from the Senate floor moments ago, described top Iranian commander Qasem Soleimani as a "terrorist mastermind" who "operated without constraint."

"Soleimani made it his life's work to take the Iranian revolutionary call for death to America and death to Israel and turned them into action. But this terrorist mastermind was not just a threat to the United States and Israel. For more than a decade, he masterminded Iran's malevolent and destabilizing work throughout the entire Middle East," the Kentucky Republican said.