Iranian Major-General Qassem Soleimani, head of the elite Quds Force, and Iraqi militia commander Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis were killed late on Thursday in an air strike on their convoy in Baghdad airport, an Iraqi militia spokesman told Reuters.
Their deaths are a potential turning point in the Middle East and are expected to draw severe retaliation from Iran and the forces it backs in the Middle East against Israel and American interests.
"The American and Israeli enemy is responsible for killing the mujahideen Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis and Qassem Soleimani," said Ahmed al-Assadi, a spokesman for Iraq's Popular Mobilization Forces umbrella grouping of Iran-backed militias.
Earlier, Reuters reported that Katyusha rockets landed near the air cargo terminal, burning two vehicles, killing and injuring several people.
Iraqi paramilitary groups said five of their members and two "guests" were killed in the airstrike on their vehicles inside Baghdad International Airport, militia sources reported on early Friday.
The militia members were hosting "important guests" at Baghdad airport who were being driven in two militia vehicles that were struck by two rockets, said the militia sources.
Two militia sources said the two guests were also killed in the attack but declined to identify them.