Iran faces dilemma in avenging general’s death: To strike back without starting a war

Iran’s supreme leader, Ali Khamenei, vowed to exact “severe revenge” for the Thursday night U.S. airstrike that killed the country’s most famous general, but the Iranian regime will have to walk a fine line to respond strongly without provoking a war with the United States, former intelligence officials familiar with the region said Friday. Qassem Soleimani headed the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps’ Quds Force, which combines intelligence gathering, covert action and special operations. Also killed in the airstrike, which hit two vehicles, was Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, the leader of the Iraqi Shiite militia group Kataib Hezbollah, along with several other Quds Force and militia members.