"If we had killed him, we'd be bragging about it that same night", said a senior U.S. official, who, like others, spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss a classified military operation.
Instagram and its parent company Facebook are removing posts that voice support for slain Iranian commander Qassem Soleimani to comply with U.S. sanctions, a Facebook spokesperson said in a statement to CNN Business Friday.
The president, in a statement announcing the new measures, referenced Iran's nuclear program and use of proxy forces throughout the region while noting that the Iranians have threatened USA service members, diplomats and civilians - an apparent reference to his administration's justification for killing Soleimani in a drone strike last week in Baghdad.
An informed source at the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps said the IRGC's missile attack on the United States airbase of Ain al-Assad has killed at least 80 American forces.
The assassination of Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani may not have been the only attack the USA carried out last week. It has offered a $15 million reward in connection with him under its "Rewards for Justice" program.
The successful January 3 strike that killed Soleimani sparked fury from the Iranian regime, which retaliated with ballistic missile strikes on two Iraqi bases that host US troops but caused no casualties.
Cmdr. Rebarich declined to discuss the operation or confirm the failed strike.
Shahlai and Soleimani were two of several Iranian officials the administration targeted in an effort to halt Iran-backed attacks on sites with Americans and to deter Iran from ramping up aggression in the region, American officials said.
On Friday, the United States announced a new wave of sanctions on Iran's textile, construction, manufacturing or mining, steel and iron sectors.
House lawmakers approved a non-binding resolution Thursday to restrict the Trump administration's authority to attack Iran without congressional approval.
Neighbouring Iraq looks set to bear the brunt of any further US-Iranian violence, its leaders caught in a bind as Washington and Tehran are also the Baghdad Government's main allies and vie for influence there.
Iraq has suffered decades of war, sanctions and sectarian conflict, including two US-led invasions and the rise and fall of Sunni militant groups Al Qaeda and Islamic State.
At Friday prayers in Tehran, an Iranian cleric said U.S. interests across the world were now at risk.