New Delhi: Hours after Iranian Quds Force leader Qassem Soleimani was killed in US airstrike, the US embassy in Baghdad urged all citizens to depart Iraq, due to heightened tension in the region.
“Due to heightened tensions in Iraq and the region, the US Embassy urges American citizens to heed the January 2020 Travel Advisory and depart Iraq immediately. US citizens should depart via airline while possible, and failing that, to other countries via land,” it said in a statement.
Soleimani was a celebrated figure in Iran. Top Iraqi militia commander Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, an adviser to Soleimani, was also killed in the attack.
“Martyrdom was the reward for his ceaseless efforts in all these years,” Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei tweeted.
“With him gone, God willing, his work and his path will not be stopped, but severe revenge awaits the criminals who bloodied their foul hands with his blood and other martyrs’ in last night’s incident,” he said.
“The US’ act of international terrorism, targeting & assassinating General Soleimani–THE most effective force fighting Daesh (ISIS), Al Nusrah, Al Qaeda et al–is extremely dangerous & a foolish escalation. The US bears responsibility for all consequences of its rogue adventurism,” Iran Foreign Minister Javed Zarif tweeted.
“At the direction of the President, the U.S. military has taken decisive defensive action to protect U.S. personnel abroad by killing Qasem Soleimani, the head of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps-Quds Force, a U.S.-designated Foreign Terrorist Organization,” the White House said in a statement later.