Major General Qasem Soleimani is a name you may not have been familiar with when it comes to high-profile US targets, not like Osama bin Laden or Abu Bakr al Baghdadi.

But while he may not be as well-known as those other figures, the consequences of General Soleimani's death could be far more serious.

He was killed in a US airstrike at Baghdad airport on Friday and US President Donald Trump said he ordered the attack to stop a war, not start one. 

He described General Soleimani as the world’s number one terrorist and a monster. 

He said he was responsible for many American deaths and was planning many more.

Iran has vowed to retaliate, with the country’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei warning that "severe revenge" awaited "the criminals" who carried out the attack.

We don’t yet know what form that revenge will take.

Will it mean attacks on US bases, embassies or ships in the Middle East?

Will we see the targeting of US allies in the region like Israel and Saudi Arabia?

Or will there be attacks on US soil? Security has been stepped in many US cities in recent days but the Department of Homeland Security says there are no current "specific, credible" threats to the US.

The reality is, no one knows what Iran’s retaliation will look like because we are in uncharted territory.

This attack was unprecedented such was the seniority of the target involved.

Qasem Soleimani wasn't just Iran's top military commander, he was viewed by many as the second most powerful figure in the entire country after the Supreme Leader.

He was the driving force behind Iran's expanding influence in the Middle East and was hailed by many as a national hero.

The killing of such a senior figure has dramatically escalated tensions between Iran and the US, amid warnings that it has brought the two sides closer to all-out war.

In the US, no one is mourning the loss of Soleimani. No tears are being shed but questions are being asked.

Democrats have criticised Mr Trump for failing to consult Congress before carrying out such a serious attack.

They are also asking if there is a wider strategy here; is the Trump administration ready for the consequences?

Questions are also being asked about the timing of all of this, as Mr Trump is under pressure domestically right now.

He is facing an impeachment trial in the Senate in the coming weeks and of course the prospect of re-election in the coming months.

In 2011 he claimed Barack Obama would start a war with Iran to win re-election. Some of Mr Trump’s critics are now accusing him of doing just that. 

If this is the case, it is a risky strategy. 

Wars can help to boost approval ratings but only in the short term. Prolonged conflicts resulting in high numbers of American deaths quickly become unpopular. 

Mr Trump knows this and has long promised to end wars in the Middle East, to pull US soldiers out of conflict zones not deploy more.

But this weekend we saw the reverse of that with the Pentagon announcing plans to send up to 3,500 additional troops to the Middle East.

You may not have heard of Qasem Soleimani before his death, but his name could soon become forever associated with a major turning point in a dangerous conflict.