General Qassem Soleimani instructed Iraqi militia leaders to step up attacks on U.S. targets in Iraq during a meeting in October at a villa across the river from the U.S. embassy in Baghdad.
Reuters reported that the attacks would deploy new weapons provided by Iran, including Katyusha rockets and shoulder-fired missiles that could bring down helicopters.
Soleimani’s plan to attack U.S. forces was designed to provoke a military response that would redirect that anger toward America, Reuters said.
Soleimani ordered a new militia group formed to carry out rocket attacks on Americans housed at Iraqi military bases. Soleimani’s forces supplied its Iraqi militia allies with a drone Iran had developed that could hide from radar systems, according to Reuters.
The day before the attack that killed Soleimani, U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper warned that the United States might have to take preemptive action to protect American lives from expected attacks by Iran-backed militias.