General Qasem Soleimani, the head of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards’ elite Quds Force, has been killed in Iraq, reports say.
Iraqi State television said Soleimani was among a number of people killed in a strike near Baghdad’s airport.
US officials told Reuters news agency they had carried out strikes against targets linked to Iran but gave no further details.
As yet there has been no official confirmation of a death or a US attack.
The Popular Mobilisation Forces, an Iranian-backed Iraqi militia, told Reuters that Gen Soleimani and Iraqi militia leader Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis had been killed.
Earlier reports suggested a number of people died after a rocket strike at Baghdad’s international airport.
The strike comes days after protesters surrounded the US embassy in Baghdad, clashing with US forces at the scene.
US defence secretary Mark Esper said late on Thursday that the US would not accept attacks against its personnel in the region, blaming Iran for the violence at the embassy.
“Attacks against us will be met with responses in the time, manner, and place of our choosing,” a statement read. “We urge the Iranian regime to end their malign activities.”