Netanyahu says U.S. had right to self-defense in killing Soleimani: statement

Israeli Prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu delivers a statment to the media in Jerusalem Junuary 1, 2020 REUTERS/ Ronen Zvulun

JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Friday that the United States had the right to defend itself by killing senior Iranian commander Qassem Soleimani.

“Just as Israel has the right of self-defense, the United States has exactly the same right,” Netanyahu said in a statement issued by his office.

“Qassem Soleimani is responsible for the death of American citizens and many other innocent people. He was planning more such attacks.”

Netanyahu spoke on the airport tarmac in Greece after cutting short a trip abroad to fly back to Israel.

“President Trump deserves all the credit for acting swiftly, forcefully and decisively. Israel stands with the United States in its just struggle for peace, security and self-defense,” he added.

Reporting by Stephen Farrell