Iran’s most powerful military commander, Gen Qasem Soleimani, has been killed by a US airstrike in Iraq. The 62-year-old spearheaded Iranian military operations in the Middle East as head of Iran’s elite Quds Force, the division of Iran’s powerful Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC).
U.S.-made AGM-114 Hellfire missiles were used in the recent strikes that claimed the lives of Iran’s Quds Force Commander Maj. Gen. Qassim Soleimani and his comrades, Iraqi sources revealed on January 3.
The Iraqi Tactical Cell Facebook page released a photo showing the remains of the one of the Hellfires used in the attack. The missiles completely destroyed the two vehicles, which were carrying Maj. Gen. Soleimani as well as Iranian and Iraqi commanders.
Introduced in 1982, the AGM-114 air-to-surface missile is guided by a semi-active laser. The missile has an operational range of around 8 km.
The type used to assassinate the Iranian commander weighed 52 kg, as the information on the Tactical Cell’s photo reveal. The closest variant of the Hellfire to that weight is the AGM-114R that’s armed with an integrated blast fragmentation sleeve multipurpose warhead.
According to several reports in the U.S. media, the airstrikes on Maj. Gen. Soleimani and his comrades were carried out by an MQ-9 Reaper. The unmanned combat aerial vehicle (UCAV) can be armed with at least four Hellfire missiles.
This information paints a clear picture of how the U.S. assassinated Maj. Gen. Soleimani in the Iraqi capital, Baghdad. This attack has put the Middle East on the track to a further confrontation between the U.S. and Iran.