NEW YORK (AP) — After Friday's targeted killing of Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani, newsrooms struggled with the question: Had the United States just carried out an assassination? And should news stories about the killing use that term?
The AP Stylebook, considered a news industry bible, defines assassination as "the murder of a politically important or prominent individual by surprise attack."
Although the United States and Iran have long been adversaries and engaged in a shadow war in the Middle East and elsewhere, the U.S. has never declared formal war on Iran. So the targeted killing of a high Iranian state and military official by a surprise attack was "clearly an assassination," said Mary Ellen O'Çonnell, an expert in international law and the