Top anti-Daesh Commander Qassem Soleimani assassinated in U.S. state-terrorism 

January 3, 2020 - 20:9

TEHRAN - Lieutenant General Qassem Soleimani, the commander of the IRGC Quds Force, was assassinated in a U.S. air raid on his vehicle in Baghdad’s international airport on Friday morning. 

Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, the deputy chief of Iraq’s Popular Mobilization Units (PMU), was also martyred in the air attack.

Formal funeral processions for Soleimani will be held in Iraq on Saturday, the PMU said in a statement on Friday.

General Soleimani was at frontline positions in battles against Daesh (ISIS) in Iraq and Syria. He was considered a champion in the war on terrorism. 

Back in November 2017, Soleimani issued a statement declaring the end of ISIS, as the Iraqi and Syrian armies, backed by popular forces and Iranian military advisors, managed to flush Daesh militants out of their last strongholds in both countries.

In his statement, Soleimani thanked Ayatollah Khamenei for his wise leadership and the sacrifices of the Iraqi and Syrian people and governments for their courageous fight against the terrorist group.

Iranian officials, including the Leader of the Islamic Revolution, have vowed to take revenge on the U.S. for this terrorist act.

Government spokesman Ali Rabiei said, “The U.S. has crossed the red line. The Iranian nation will give crushing response to them in due time.” 

The Pentagon announced that Soleimani was killed on the order of Donald Trump.

According to the New York Times, the top Iranian general was killed when an American MQ-9 Reaper drone fired missiles into a convoy that was leaving the airport.

The strike was a serious escalation of Trump’s growing confrontation with Tehran, which began almost a week ago when U.S. forces conducted drone strikes on locations of the PMU forces in Iraq, killing at least 25 individuals and leaving another 51 injured.

On Wednesday, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said the United States’ attacks on the PMU, also known as al-Hashd al-Shaabi, was an act of retaliation against the forces for beating the Daesh terrorist group.

Following assassination of Soleimani, Israel's military had gone on heightened alert amid fears that Iran could strike through its regional allies such as Hezbollah to the north, or through Palestinian group Hamas and Islamic Jihad in Gaza.

Israel's war minister summoned the country's military and security chiefs to Tel Aviv in the wake of the killing. Meanwhile, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has reportedly cut short his trip to Greece.

Meantime, Syria strongly condemns the "treacherous, criminal American aggression" that led to the killing of Soleimani.

The source said the attack constituted a "serious escalation" and held U.S. responsible for instability in Iraq.

Meanwhile, Iraq's prominent Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadr said the killing of Soleimani was targeting Iraq's opposition and Jihad, adding that it will not weaken its resolve.

In a statement, Al-Sadr called on his Army of Imam Mahdi and "other national and disciplined" armed groups to be prepared to protect Iraq. He also sent his condolences to Iran.

Qays al-Khazali, the head of the Iraqi Asaib Ahl al-Haq armed faction, said "all fighters should be on high alert for upcoming battle and great victory".

"The end of Israel and removal of the U.S. from the region will be the result of the assassination of Soleimani and Muhandis," he said in a statement published by Iraqi media.

The Russian Foreign Ministry warned that the U.S. airstrike will exacerbate tensions throughout the Middle East. 

U.S. Senator and 2020 presidential candidate Bernie Sanders has also warned that the killing will destabilize the region and puts the U.S. on the path to another war.

Democratic leaders in both chambers of Congress expressed outrage over Trump's ordered strike, saying the Republican president did not obtain congressional approval.

"When I voted against the war in Iraq in 2002, I feared it would lead to greater destabilization of the region," Sanders tweeted on Thursday. “That fear unfortunately turned out to be true.”

"The U.S. has lost approximately 4,500 brave troops, tens of thousands have been wounded, and we’ve spent trillions [in Iraq],” Sanders added.

"Trump's dangerous escalation brings us closer to another disastrous war in the Middle East that could cost countless lives and trillions more dollars. Trump promised to end endless wars, but this action puts us on the path to another one."

MJ/PA

Leave a Comment

7 + 0 =