Pompeo: Strike on Soleimani disrupted an 'imminent attack' and 'saved American lives'

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo speaks after Qasem Soleimani, the head of the Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) Quds Force unit, was killed in an airstrike ordered by President Trump at Baghdad airport on Friday morning.

Posted: Jan 3, 2020 9:00 AM
Updated: Jan 3, 2020 9:00 AM

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that the airstrike ordered to kill top Iranian commander Qasem Soleimani was to disrupt an "imminent attack" that could have cost American lives in the Middle East region.

"I can't talk too much about the nature of the threats. But the American people should know that the President's decision to remove Soleimani from the battlefield saved American lives," Pompeo said on CNN's "New Day" Friday.

Pompeo said Soleimani was "actively plotting" in the region to "take big action, as he described it, that would have put hundreds of lives at risk." He said that Americans "are safer in the region" after the strike and demise of Soleimani.

He stressed that a US intelligence community assessment had led to the strike.

"The risk of doing nothing was enormous. Intelligence community made that assessment and President Trump acted decisively last night," Pompeo told CNN's John Berman Friday.

The Pentagon on Thursday confirmed a strike that killed Soleimani, who as head of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) Quds Force became the architect of Tehran's proxy conflicts in the Middle East. A US defense official told CNN the strike was carried out with a drone.

The strike is a major escalation in regional tensions that have pitted Tehran against Washington and its allies in the Middle East.

On CNN Friday, Pompeo explained that after the death of a US contractor in Iraq on December 27, "we watched the intelligence flow in that talked about Soleimani's travels in the region and the work that he was doing to put Americans further at risk."

"And it was time to take this action so that we could disrupt this plot, deter further aggression from Qasem Soleimani and the Iranian regime, as well as to attempt to de-escalate the situation," he said.

Pompeo on Friday morning spoke with his foreign counterparts in China, the United Kingdom and Germany and "made clear that the United States remains committed to de-escalation," according to statements released by the State Department.

On Friday, the State Department urged US citizens in Iraq to "depart immediately" due to "heightened tensions" in the region.

During his interview with CNN, Pompeo declined to elaborate on the advisory, but noted that they "made the conclusion that a statement that we issued was appropriate, that the timing was right for that."

He did not say whether the State Department will evacuate US personnel in Iraq.

This story has been updated.

Huntsville/Redstone
Cloudy
37° wxIcon
Hi: 52° Lo: 31°
Feels Like: 37°
Muscle Shoals
Cloudy
41° wxIcon
Hi: 55° Lo: 30°
Feels Like: 41°
Huntsville/Madison
Cloudy
34° wxIcon
Hi: 52° Lo: 29°
Feels Like: 34°
Decatur
Mostly Cloudy
32° wxIcon
Hi: 54° Lo: 31°
Feels Like: 32°
Fort Payne
Mostly Cloudy
26° wxIcon
Hi: 52° Lo: 33°
Feels Like: 26°
WAAY Radar
WAAY WAAY-TV Cam
WAAY Temperatures

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 422598

Reported Deaths: 6120
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson62039921
Mobile30225548
Madison27052186
Tuscaloosa20728267
Montgomery18978305
Shelby18504114
Baldwin16251182
Lee12465101
Morgan12233113
Etowah11735168
Calhoun11122200
Marshall10191107
Houston8598148
Cullman8023105
Limestone800274
Elmore7836101
DeKalb768397
Lauderdale754683
St. Clair7535120
Talladega6166108
Walker5897174
Jackson580341
Colbert532073
Blount530483
Autauga518455
Coffee441056
Dale396181
Franklin366248
Chilton336165
Russell330310
Covington327268
Escambia316842
Dallas303196
Chambers282769
Clarke281433
Tallapoosa2616107
Pike248729
Marion245650
Lawrence243647
Winston226635
Bibb215147
Geneva201435
Marengo199029
Pickens196531
Hale175842
Barbour172936
Butler169658
Fayette168226
Cherokee160330
Henry153621
Monroe145217
Randolph139835
Washington137626
Clay126145
Crenshaw118744
Lamar118019
Cleburne117423
Macon114735
Lowndes110335
Wilcox103121
Bullock99028
Perry97419
Conecuh94420
Sumter89026
Greene76023
Coosa60515
Choctaw51224
Out of AL00
Unassigned00

Tennessee Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 685321

Reported Deaths: 8391
CountyCasesDeaths
Shelby761671128
Davidson70706661
Knox38646393
Hamilton34556326
Rutherford33114283
Unassigned22759126
Williamson21364138
Sumner18205230
Out of TN1612079
Wilson14405155
Montgomery14367149
Sullivan12577211
Washington11889191
Blount11887124
Maury10941123
Bradley1075190
Sevier10461108
Putnam9931136
Madison9099178
Robertson761885
Hamblen6954109
Anderson6759102
Greene6569108
Tipton619065
Gibson5630111
Coffee560681
Cumberland537872
Dickson534678
Bedford532086
Roane519179
Carter5091112
Lawrence507569
McMinn506673
Warren497553
Loudon493750
Jefferson474975
Dyer473682
Monroe455162
Hawkins444968
Franklin410758
Obion399478
Fayette396251
Rhea381556
Lincoln378344
Marshall343536
Cocke342856
Weakley339448
Cheatham335230
Henderson332056
Campbell323940
Giles321071
White310043
Hardeman308752
Carroll307859
Hardin297647
Lauderdale293131
Macon287350
Wayne260719
Henry260358
Overton252942
DeKalb241741
Haywood239745
McNairy238142
Smith230527
Trousdale228714
Marion227731
Scott225231
Hickman222734
Fentress212531
Claiborne210129
Grainger208135
Johnson201532
Morgan188614
Crockett180338
Bledsoe174110
Chester173237
Unicoi166843
Cannon157019
Lake155319
Decatur147226
Polk142817
Grundy139320
Union138721
Sequatchie136518
Humphreys132617
Benton131935
Lewis127220
Meigs114016
Stewart105220
Jackson103721
Perry94725
Houston93922
Clay93726
Moore7959
Pickett67619
Van Buren6587
Hancock4026

Community Events