UNITED STATES (OBSERVATORY NEWS) — Iran’s top leadership on Friday vowed to respond strongly to the killing of Qasem Soleimani, commander of the elite Quds Force, in a US air strike in Iraq, Anadolu Agency (AA) reports.
“There is no doubt that the great nation of Iran and other free nations of the region will retaliate for this terrible US crime,” said President Hassan Rouhani, reports Iran’s state-run IRNA agency.
Soleimani’s assassination has doubled the determination of the Iranian people to stay ahead of the US attacks and defend Islamic values, he added.
Reports coming from the region on Friday confirmed that Soleimani was killed in an American drone attack in Baghdad.
The attack came amid tensions after thousands of Iranian-backed protesters stormed the US embassy compound in Baghdad on Tuesday.
Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on Friday also pledged revenge for Soleiman’s assassination. “A bitter revenge is awaiting criminals,” Khamenei said in a statement.
Likewise, Defense Minister Amir Hatami warned of a “devastating retaliation” for the US attack.
“Those who led the terrorist act and those who committed it will face a devastating response,” IRNA was quoted as saying.
Soleiman has long been the commander of the Quds Force, which has been included in the list of terrorist groups by the US since 2007. The group is estimated to have 20,000 members.
Shortly after reporting on the military leader’s assassination, Trump posted the U.S. flag on Twitter without comment.
The Pentagon accused Soleiman of planning to carry out attacks on US diplomats and staff in Iraq and the region, saying the killed leader was responsible for the deaths of hundreds of US and coalition staff.
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