Iran Vows Harsh Revenge of U.S Attack ,Killing of Commander
– Iran promised harsh revenge on Friday after a U.S. air strike in Baghdad on Friday killed Qassem Soleimani, commander of Iran’s elite Quds Force and architect of its growing military influence in the Middle East.
Soleimani, a 62-year-old general, was regarded as the second most powerful figure in Iran after Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
The overnight attack, authorized by President Donald Trump, was a dramatic escalation in a “shadow war” in the Middle East between Iran and the United States and its allies, principally Israel and Saudi Arabia.
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the strike aimed to disrupt an “imminent attack” that would have endangered Americans in the Middle East. Democratic critics said the Republican president had raised the risk of more violence in a dangerous region.
Pompeo, in interviews on Fox News and CNN, declined to discuss many details of the alleged threat but said it was “an intelligence based assessment” that drove the decision to target Soleimani.
In a tweet, Trump said Soleimani had “killed or badly wounded thousands of Americans over an extended period of time, and was plotting to kill many more”, but did not elaborate.
The attack also killed top Iraqi militia commander Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, an adviser to Soleimani.
It followed a sharp increase in long running U.S.-Iranian hostilities last week when pro-Iranian militiamen attacked the U.S. embassy in Iraq following a U.S. air raid on the Kataib Hezbollah militia, founded by Muhandis.
Iraq’s prime minister said that with Friday’s attack Washington had violated a deal for keeping U.S. troops in his country.