President Donald Trump's decision to carry out a lethal targeted strike against an Iranian general widely said to have American blood on his hands has renewed an international legal debate about the line between warfare and assassination that has never fully been resolved.
The U.S. government justified the strike as an act of self-defense, saying that Qasem Soleimani, the leader of an elite Iranian military and intelligence unit, had been plotting attacks on Americans — an allegation that few analysts seriously doubt, given his track record as the architect of Iranian attacks abroad.
Brian Hook, the Department of State's special representative for Iran, told Al Arabiya television Friday that Soleimani was planning an attack on U.S. facilities and workers in Iraq, Lebanon, and Syria that would have killed hundreds of Americans.
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But the United Nations official in charge of examining targeted killings, Agnes Callamard, questioned the operation in a series of tweets, noting that the U.S. did not detail any specific plot involving Soleimani.
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