Friday, January 3, 2020

Iran to avenge the death of General killed in US air strike ordered by Donald Trump

The US assassination of Iran's most high-profile military commander early Friday morning quickly inaugurated a new era of uncertainty throughout the troubled Middle East, with calls by Iran and its allies for retaliation and demands to expel American troops from the region. 

Iran’s supreme leader has vowed to avenge the US's killing of Qassem Soleimani, head of the country’s clandestine overseas forces, in a major escalation of hostility between Washington and Tehran in the Middle East.

Ali Khamenei vowed a "harsh" response to the assassination of Soleimani, commander of an elite branch of the Revolutionary Guards called the Quds Force.

US officials said the killing, by what appeared to be an airstrike near Baghdad’s international airport, was ordered by president Donald Trump.

"Harsh vengeance awaits the criminals that got his and other martyrs' blood on their evil hands in last night's incident," said the supreme leader's statement, which celebrated Soleimani’s life.

Khamenei, who had a warm and personal relationship with Suleimani and often spoke of him in glowing terms, declared three days of mourning for the death and that of Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, a leader of Iranian-backed militias in Iraq, who was accompanying the Iranian general at the time. He quickly appointed Brig Gen Esmaeil Qaani, Suleimani's second-in-command, as new leader of the Quds Force.