After President Trump vowed that Iran would be “fully responsible” for any lives lost at U.S. facilities abroad, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said, “You can’t do anything.”
In less than just 48 hours later, an airstrike ordered by Trump killed Gen. Qassem Soleimani, the head of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps’ elite Quds Force. The ayatollah is now claiming “harsh retaliation is waiting for the criminals whose filthy hands spilled his blood.” Iran’s president Hassan Rouhani also promised to “take revenge for this heinous crime.”
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Rouhani added that Iran would “raise the flag” of Soleimani “in defense of the country’s territorial integrity and the fight against terrorism and extremism in the region.” Javad Zarif, the country’s foreign minister, called the U.S. strike “an act of state terrorism and a violation of Iraq’s sovereignty.”
In a report by Fox News, “Iran’s top ‘shadow commander’ was responsible for the deaths of hundreds of American and coalition service members and the wounding of thousands more, the State Department said.”
A security alert was issued by the U.S. State Department to urge all U.S. citizens to depart Iraq immediately due to heightened tensions in the region. The alert said: “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.”
According to NBC News, “Soleimani was one of the most influential figures in the Middle East, having developed a network of powerful militia groups whose clandestine reach stretched into Iraq, Syria and beyond.”