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Iran news: Iranian Qasem Soleimani assassination blocked by David Miliband | UK | News

Soleimani was killed by a US airstrike near Baghdad airport on Friday morning. The strike was ordered by President Donald Trump following an attack on the American embassy.

Back in 2007 Soleimani was alleged to have been involved in backing pro-Iranian militia groups in southern Iraq.

These factions targeted British troops with bombs and rockets, killing and maiming a significant number of troops.

In response the SAS set up a special operation to take out the Iranian backed cells.

However according to The Daily Telegraph a mission to kill Soleimani was blocked by Mr Miliband, the then foreign secretary.

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An SAS plan to kill Qasem Soleimani was reportedly blocked (Image: GETTY)

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Protest against the killing of Qasem Soleimani in Iran (Image: GETTY)

The claim was made by a senior British military figure, who was based in Basra at the time, speaking to the paper.

They commented: “The Foreign Secretary said that he wanted to talk to the Iranians, not kill them.

“We had Soleimani in our crosshairs, but we had to call the operation off because of sensitivities in London about conducting this type of operation.”

In total 179 British soldiers died during the Iraq War from 2003 to 2011.

READ MORE: World War 3 fears explode as air strike hits Iranian backed militia 

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President Trump speaking after the killing of Qasem Soleimani (Image: GETTY)

Following the 2003 invasion the UK assumed responsibility for Shia dominated parts of southern Iraq.

Initially these areas were relatively quiet, in contrast to Sunni provinces where US forces faced a fierce insurgency from groups including Al-Qaeda.

However the situation worsened after the Mahdi Army, led by Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, staged two uprisings in 2004.

Shia insurgent groups, allegedly backed by Iran, then launched an insurgency against British troops until their withdrawal.

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Iranian protestors burn British and Israeli flags after the killing of Soleimani (Image: GETTY)

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Syrians hand out sweets to celebrate the death of Soleimani (Image: GETTY)

Donald Trump has said the US killing of Iran’s top military chief General Qassem Soleimani “should have been done a long time ago”.

The US president said: “We took action last night to stop a war. We did not take action to start a war.”

Mr Trump said the US was not seeking regime change in Iran, but claimed the world was a safer place without “monsters” such as Gen Soleimani.

He said: “If Americans anywhere are threatened we have all of those targets fully identified and I am ready and prepared to take whatever action is necessary, and that particularly refers to Iran.”

Mr Trump said the Iranian general was plotting “imminent and sinister attacks” and added: “We caught him in the act and terminated him.”

However, despite the President’s insistence that his actions were done to stop a war, fears of a global conflict have exploded.

US citizens in Iraq have been told to leave the country immediately in the wake of the air strike.

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Iranian protestors tear up an American flag (Image: GETTY)

The attack dramatically increases already heightened tensions in the region, with religious leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei warning of “severe revenge”.

An advisory posted by the embassy stated: “Due to heightened tensions in Iraq and the region, the US Embassy urges American citizens to heed the January 2020 Travel Advisory and depart Iraq immediately.

“US citizens should depart via airline while possible, and failing that, to other countries via land.”

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