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As it happened

US to deploy at least 3,000 more troops amid fears of unrest after Soleimani's death

Qassem Soleimani was killed in a Trump-ordered air strike in the early hours of 3 January 2019.
Qassem Soleimani was killed in a Trump-ordered air strike in the early hours of 3 January 2019. Reuters

Tens of thousands of Iranians took to the streets of Tehran on Friday to protest against the killing of a top Iranian commander, Qassem Soleimani, who Washington says was planning an "imminent" attack on US interests in the Middle East. Review FRANCE 24's live blog for analysis and reactions to Soleimani's killing. 

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  • Top Iranian General Qassem Soleimani, 62, was killed in a US-ordered drone strike at Baghdad airport early Friday. Soleimani was the head of Iran's elite Quds Force and ran Iranian military operations in Iraq, Syria and beyond.
  • His killing marks a major escalation in the stand-off between Washington and Tehran. Tens of thousands of Iranians took to the streets of Tehran after Friday prayers to protest against Soleimani's killing. 
  • Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the US took action to disrupt an “imminent” attack orchestrated by Soleimani. The Department of Defense said Soleimani was targeted because he “was actively developing plans to attack American diplomats and service members in Iraq and throughout the region". 
  • Iran's top security body has vowed to retaliate at the "right place and time".
  • Iraq’s most powerful Shiite cleric, Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, said the country now faces “very difficult times" and called for restraint from all sides.
  • Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, deputy commander of Iran-backed forces in Iraq known as the Popular Mobilisation Forces, and five others were also killed in the attack. 
  • Influential Iraqi cleric Moqtada al-Sadr has reactivated his Mahdi army nearly a decade after dissolving it. 
  • The US embassy in Baghdad has urged all American citizens to leave the country "immediately". 
  • Washington said it would deploy between 3,000 and 3,500 more troops to the Middle East amid fears of unrest following Soleimani's killing. 

Re-live the events as they happened on the FRANCE 24 live blog below.

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