-US airstrike killed General Qassem Soleimani, the powerful head of Iran's elite Quds Force, in Baghdad
-The attack unfolded early on Friday local time in a precision strike on two cars that were carrying Soleimani
-Soleimani had just arrived in Baghdad on a flight from Syria and was leaving the airport when he was hit
-Attack also killed Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, leader of Iranian militias in Iraq which led attacks on US embassy
Qassem Soleimani, head of Iran's Quds force, was among five people killed when an American Reaper drone fired missiles at two cars carrying him and other senior officials out of Baghdad airport early Friday morning.
The senior general, commonly known as the second-most powerful man in Iran and tipped as a future president, was so badly maimed in the strike that he had to be identified by a large ring he wore on his finger.
Soleimani had arrived at the airport on a plane from either Syria or Lebanon around 12.30am when he was met on the tarmac by Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, deputy commander of the pro-Iran Popular Mobilization Forces in Iraq.
Muhandis pulled up to the aircraft steps in two cars before Soleimani and Mohammed Ridha Jabri, public relations chief for the PMF who had been traveling with him, climbed inside and were driven away.
Moments later, as the cars passed through a cargo area headed for an access road leading out of the airport, the convoy was struck by four missiles fired by an MQ-9 Reaper drone.
Both vehicles were instantly reduced to smoldering wrecks - killing Soleimani, Muhandis, Jabri and two others who have yet to be identified.
Social media photos show burning wreckage of the US airstrike on two cars at Baghdad International Airport. Iranian officials and pro-Iran militia members were among those killed