Trump Says U.S. Rid World of 'Terrorist Leader' Soleimani, Threatens to Hit Iran 'Harder' If Attacked

President Donald Trump defended an airstrike that killed Iranian military general Qassem Soleimani Saturday night, tweeting that the U.S. rid "the world of their terrorist leader who had just killed an American, & badly wounded many others."

Trump also said that if Iran were to retaliate, he and his government have identified 52 Iranian sites to target in a military strike and "we will hit them harder than they have ever been hit before."

On Saturday, Trump tweeted: "Iran is talking very boldly about targeting certain USA 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, including recently....

"....hundreds of Iranian protesters. He was already attacking our Embassy, and preparing for additional hits in other locations. Iran has been nothing but problems for many years. Let this serve as a WARNING that if Iran strikes any Americans, or American assets, we have.....

"....targeted 52 Iranian sites (representing the 52 American hostages taken by Iran many years ago), some 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. The USA wants no more threats!"

In a further tweet, the president said: "They attacked us, & we hit back. If they attack again, which I would strongly advise them not to do, we will hit them harder than they have ever been hit before!"

Trump threatens Iran
President Donald Trump exits after holding an 'Evangelicals for Trump' campaign event held at the King Jesus International Ministry on January 03, 2020 in Miami, Florida. The rally was announced after a December editorial published in Christianity Today called for the President Trump's removal from office. Getty/Joe Raedle

Trump added that the U.S. has recently spent $2 trillion on military equipment in a final threat.

He said: "The United States just spent Two Trillion Dollars on Military Equipment. We are the biggest and by far the BEST in the World! If Iran attacks an American Base, or any American, we will be sending some of that brand new beautiful equipment their way...and without hesitation!"

The tweets come after Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei vowed "harsh revenge" for the death of Soleimani.

Trump's claim that the U.S. is targeting sites of importance to Iranian culture raised eyebrows, however. Colin Kahl, former national security advisor to Vice President Joe Biden, tweeted: "For what it's worth, I find 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 planners and lawyers do...and targeting cultural sites is war crime," said Kahl.

Biden also chimed in, calling Trump "irrational" for his tweets.

Trump Says U.S. Rid World of 'Terrorist Leader' Soleimani, Threatens to Hit Iran 'Harder' If Attacked | U.S.