TEHRAN (FNA)- Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei stated on Friday those who assassinated Commander of Iran's Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) Qods Force Major General Qassem Soleimani must await a tough revenge.
Ayatollah Khamenei said in a statement on Friday that the “cruelest people on earth” assassinated the “honorable” commander who “courageously fought for years against the evils and bandits of the world”.
His demise will not stop his mission, but the criminals who have the blood of General Soleimani and other martyrs of the attack on their hands must await a tough revenge, the Leader added.
The Leader noted that all the friends and foes must know that the Resistance movement’s struggle will continue more strongly, and a definite victory awaits those who fight on this auspicious path.
“The demise of our selfless and dear general is bitter, but the continued fight and achievement of the final victory will make life bitterer for the murderers and criminals,” he stressed.
In his statement, the Leader also offered condolences to the Iranian nation and General Soleimani’s family, and declared three days of national mourning over the tragedy.
General Soleimani was martyred in a targeted assassination attack by US aircraft at Baghdad International Airport early Friday morning.
The airstrike also martyred Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, deputy commander of Iraq's Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF), or Hashad al-Shabi. The PMF media arm reported that the two were martyred in an American airstrike that targeted their vehicle on the road to the airport.
The Pentagon confirmed the attack in a statement.
The attack came amid tensions that started by the US attack on PMF units that killed 28 Iraqi popular forces. A day later, Iraqi people attacked the US embassy in Baghdad. On Wednesday President Donald Trump ordered about 750 US soldiers deployed to the Middle East.
US officials earlier suggested they were to engage in further retaliatory attacks in Iraq.
The developments also represent a major downturn in Iraq-US relations that could further undermine US influence in the region and American troops in Iraq and weaken Washington’s hand in its pressure campaign against Iran.
The attack represents a dramatic escalation by the US toward Iran after months of tensions. The tensions take root in Trump’s decision in May 2018 to withdraw the US from Iran’s nuclear deal with world powers, struck under his predecessor.