Tehran/Baghdad: On the assassination of Iran’s key influence in the Middle-East and commander of IRGC’s Quds Forces Major General Qasem Soleimani, in Baghdad on Friday 3 January, Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei said in a message that “harsh and severe revenge is awaiting those who are behind the criminal act”.
Qasem Soleimani was known as an Army commander who ran Iran’s policy in the Middle-East.
US State department said in a statement:
“At the direction of the President, the U.S. military has taken decisive defensive action to protect U.S. personnel abroad by killing Qasem Soleimani, the head of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps-Quds Force, a U.S.-designated Foreign Terrorist Organization.
General Soleimani was actively developing plans to attack American diplomats and service members in Iraq and throughout the region. General Soleimani and his Quds Force were responsible for the deaths of hundreds of American and coalition service members and the wounding of thousands more. He had orchestrated attacks on coalition bases in Iraq over the last several months – including the attack on December 27th – culminating in the death and wounding of additional American and Iraqi personnel. General Soleimani also approved the attacks on the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad that took place this week.
This strike was aimed at deterring future Iranian attack plans. The United States will continue to take all necessary action to protect our people and our interests wherever they are around the world.”
The US Department of State has issued a security alert stating that due to heightened tensions in Iraq and the region, U.S. citizens are urged to depart Iraq immediately. Due to Iranian-backed militia attacks at the U.S. Embassy compound, all consular operations are suspended. U.S. citizens should not approach the Embassy.”
After Friday’s attack, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo Spoke with Iraqi Speaker al-Halbousi and thanked him for condemning attacks by Iran and its proxies. The two agreed Iraq must uphold its responsibility to keep U.S. personnel safe and prevent further attacks. Also, they shared the view that building a sovereign and strong Iraq remains a shared priority.
Pompeo also spoke with Chinese Politburo Member Yang Jiechi to discuss the US President Donald Trump’s decision to eliminate Soleimani “in response to imminent threats to American lives”.
India said in a statement: “We have noted that a senior Iranian leader has been killed by the US. The increase in tension has alarmed the world. Peace, stability and security in this region is of utmost importance to India. It is vital that the situation does not escalate further. India has consistently advocated restraint and continues to do so.”
In a message published in his website the Iranian supreme leader Khamenei has said: “After years of sincere and courageous jihad against the devils and evil-doers of the world and after years of wishing for martyrdom in the path of God, alas, dear Soleymani attained this lofty station and his pure blood was spilled by the most vile of humans.”
IRNA (Islamic Republic New Agency) has reported that the IRGC commander and Al-Mohandes were separately leaving Baghdad airport in two cars early Friday morning when they were targeted and assassinated.
Iraqi media said the US helicopters targeted both cars.
In a statement, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) said “the glorious commander of Islamic forces was martyred in a US helicopter attack on Friday morning at the culmination of his lifelong efforts to promote the path of God.”