Asahi reported on its website that Major General Qassem Soleimani, the commander of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, was killed in an airstrike by the U.S. military near Baghdad International Airport on Friday. The daily said the Pentagon released a statement acknowledging the death of Soleimani and Iran confirmed his death. Noting that Soleimani was viewed as a hero in Iran, the paper said tension between the U.S. and Iran is set to rise as a result of his death. The Department of Defense reportedly issued a statement saying: “At the direction of the President, the U.S. military has taken decisive defensive action to protect U.S. personnel abroad by killing Qassem Soleimani.” The Pentagon reportedly pointed out that Soleimani has been actively pursuing a plan to attack U.S. diplomats and service members and spearheaded attacks against an Iraqi military base at the end of December last year that killed an American and wounded others. Asahi also said that Soleimani was a prominent anti-U.S. hard-line conservative and enjoyed wide support from the public in Iran. Noting that some thought Soleimani would become the next president, the daily said Iran is highly likely to retaliate against the U.S.