Soleimani funeral under way in Iran: All the latest updates

The strike on Soleimani's convoy as it left Baghdad's global airport also killed top Iraqi militia commander Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, one of his advisers. As head of the Guards' foreign operations arm, the Quds Force, Soleimani was a powerful figure domestically and oversaw Iran's wide-ranging interventions in regional power struggles. Trump said some of these sites are "at a very high level & important to Iran & the Iranian culture, and those targets, and Iran itself, WILL BE HIT VERY FAST AND VERY HARD".

Iran held funeral processions on Sunday for its top military commander Qasem Soleimani, who was killed in a US airstrike in Baghdad, Iraq on Friday.

Trump began his series of tweets by saying: "Iran is talking very boldly about targeting certain US assets as revenge for our ridding the world of their terrorist leader who had just killed an American, & badly wounded many others, not to mention all of the people he had killed over his lifetime". He was already attacking our Embassy, and preparing for additional hits in other locations. Many fear the U.S. strike that killed Iran's military mastermind Soleimani would set off a wider conflict with Iran, and have braced for more attacks.

Trump did not identify the sites.

Tensions between longtime foes Iran and the United States escalated past year when Trump unilaterally withdrew from a landmark accord that gave the Islamic republic relief from sanctions in return for curbs on its nuclear programme.

Colin Kahl, a former Obama administration national security official, wrote on Twitter that he "found it hard to believe the Pentagon would provide Trump targeting options that include Iranian cultural sites. Trump may not care about the laws of war, but DoD (Department of Defense) planners and lawyers do. and targeting cultural sites is war crime".

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His comments come after Iran vowed "harsh" retaliation for the death of Qassem Soleimani, a top Iranian general considered one of the country's most powerful figures. All eyes were on Iraq, where America and Iran have competed for influence since the 2003 USA -led invasion.

The notification was classified and it was not known if a public version would be released.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a Democrat, said in a statement Friday that the attack took place without congressional authorization and "without the consultation of Congress", two requirements to ensure national security. On Saturday, tens of thousands of people marched in Iraq to mourn both commanders. Chants of "Death to America" and "No No Israel" rang out.

The decision to strike - after U.S. officials opted previously to hold fire - stemmed from what senior officials described as compelling intelligence that Soleimani, a 62-year-old general, was planning imminent attacks on United States diplomats and armed forces in Iraq, Lebanon, Syria, and elsewhere in the Middle East.

The American attack, in turn, came as retaliation for a rocket strike that killed a U.S. contractor in Kirkuk, Iraq, some days earlier.

Although it's hard to nail down an exact number for how many Iraqi civilians died as a result of the violence in Iraq following the 2003 US invasion, a 2013 analysis looking specifically at the period between 2003 and 2011 estimated that approximately 400,000 deaths could be attributed to the conflict. USA officials say consideration of a strike targeting him took place during the summer, after a series of attacks in the region blamed on Iran.

  • Sonia Alvarado