Trump claims Soleimani was planning to blow up US embassy

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Donald Trump declined to share further details about the alleged plot to destroy the embassy | Drew Angerer/Getty Images

“I will say this, we caught a total monster. We took him out. That should have happened a long time ago,” the US President said.

President Donald Trump suggested Thursday that he ordered the killing of Iran’s top military commander last week to disrupt a previously undisclosed plot to attack the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad.

“I will say this, we caught a total monster. We took him out. That should have happened a long time ago,” Trump said during an environmental event at the White House of Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani.

“We did it because they were looking to blow up our embassy. We also did it for other reasons that were very obvious. Somebody died, one of our military people died. People were badly wounded just a week before,” he added.

The detail would be one of the most concrete revelations about the attack that appeared to bring the U.S. to the precipice of war with Iran before Trump tried to cool tensions in a national address Wednesday.

The administration has come under fierce criticism from Democrats and even anti-interventionist lawmakers inside the GOP for refusing to release the underlying intelligence they say was proof Soleimani was planning an “imminent” attack on American servicemembers and diplomats in the region.

Trump declined to share further details about the alleged plot to destroy the embassy, answering a follow-up question on the subject by suggesting that evidence of such a plot was out in the open, pointing to protesters who stormed the U.S. embassy in Baghdad just days before the drone attack that killed Soleimani.

Although it wasn’t clear, the president seemed to indicate that it was the protesters who marched on the embassy who were trying to blow it up.

“No, I think it was obvious, if you look at the protests,” Trump responded when asked for more details about the supposed embassy plot.

Trump then compared his response favorably to the 2012 attack on the U.S. Embassy in Benghazi that killed the U.S. ambassador to Libya, asserting that the casualties there were avoidable.

Returning to last week’s attacks, Trump added: “If you look at the protesters, they were rough warriors. They weren’t protesters. They were Iranian-backed — some were from Iraq — but they were Iranian-backed.”

“Those people are going to do serious harm,” he continued. “There were soldiers, there were warriors, and we stopped it. That was a totally organized plot, and you know who organized it. That man right now is not around any longer. And he had more than that particular embassy in mind.”

Days before that, rocket attacks blamed on an Iranian-backed Iraqi militia had killed a U.S. contractor, an assault that the Trump administration also relied on as justification for taking out Soleimani.

The longtime general and leader of Iran’s elite Quds force had long been involved in campaigns targeting Americans and creating chaos in the region. He has been blamed for what U.S. officials have identified as hundreds of American deaths.

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