'Hugely consequential breaking news': Chris Hayes reports on the killing of Qassem Suleimani
General Qasem Suleimani in civil dress during a public ceremony in 2015. Photo by the Ali Khamenei website.

The reported killing of Iranian Gen. Qasem Suleimani at the Baghdad airport in Iraq has dramatically escalated tensions in the region.

"We have hugely consequential breaking news at this hour," Chris Hayes reported. "Iraqi state TV is reporting that in a strike the Iranian Gen. Qasem Suleimani was killed along with the head of an Iran-backed militia in Iraq."

"Qasem Suleimani is one of the most important figures in the middle east, arguably the most important figure in Iran -- he runs the Quds Force," Hayes explained.

For analysis, Hayes interviewed NBC correspondent Cal Perry.

"As you say it's almost impossible, almost, moment to imagine," Perry said.

"This would change irrevocably things between the United States and Iran -- it would put the two nations on a path to a conflict," he predicted.

Perry reported that Israel had considered plans to assassinate Suleimani, but that the American government had always blocked them.

"This has always been seen as a man you do not touch," Perry said.