The US had intel that Qasem Soleimani was in multiple countries in the region planning specific attacks on US interests, including US personnel, a congressional source briefed by the Trump administration told CNN.
The source said the intelligence suggested that Iranian plans were maturing, and it became a strategic time to take out Soleimani.
A source with knowledge said attacks against US personnel were being plotted in the region and described the concern as being beyond the normal chatter about such plots.
A senior administration official says intelligence showed Soleimani was in Baghdad after the embassy attack to plan with Iranian proxy forces future hits on US.
“The President made rapid and decisive decision on this,” the official said.
CNN reported earlier that force protection levels for all US military forces in the Central Command area of operations has been increased in the last 24 hours, according to two US defense officials.
The level was raised from Force Protection level “Bravo” to “Charlie,” which applies “when a terrorist or hostile act incident occurs within the commander’s area of interest or intelligence is received indicating a hostile act, some form of terrorist action or targeting DoD elements, personnel, or facilities.”