New Delhi: Following the death of Iranian Major General Qassem Soleimani in a US airstrike ordered by President Donald Trump, the Unites States embassy in Baghdad asked American citizens to leave Iraq Immediately.
“US citizens should depart via airline while possible, and failing that, to other countries via land,” the embassy released a statement. It added that US citizens should “not approach the embassy”, while the consulate general in Erbil in Kurdistan region would be open for appointments.
This comes after Iran vowed severe revenge for its top commander’s death. “With his departure and with God’s power, his work and path will not cease and severe revenge awaits those criminals who have tainted their filthy hands with his blood and the blood of the other martyrs of last night’s incident,” Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, said in a statement.
Khamenei referred Soleimani as the “international face of the resistance” and said he was killed by “the most cruel of those on earth”. All people who back the resistance would be his “avengers”, he added.
Who was General Qassem Soleimani and Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis?
Qassem Soleimani was the commander of the Quds Force of Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC). He was seen as a deadly adversary by America and its allies. Besides, Soleimani Top Iraqi militia commander Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, an adviser to Soleimani, was also killed in the US airstrikes that targeted their vehicle on the Baghdad International Airport road. Muhandis was the second-in-command of Iraq’s Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF) or Hashd Shaabi (PMU). Both the IRGC and the PMF had confirmed the death of Soleimani and Muhandis.
‘Airstrike Carried Out by US’, Confirms White House
The White House, in a statement, confirmed that the airstrike was carried out by the United States. “At the direction of the President, the US military has taken decisive defensive action to protect US personnel abroad by killing Qasem Soleimani, the head of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps-Quds Force, a US-designated Foreign Terrorist Organization.”
It added, “General Soleimani was actively developing plans to attack American diplomats and service members in Iraq and throughout the region.”