Calls for revenge and anti-American slogans resounded in Baghdad on Saturday during a massive funeral procession for Maj. Gen. Qassem Soleimani, who led the Islamic Revolutionary Guard’s elite Quds Force.
Soleimani, who the Pentagon said was orchestrating a future attack on American forces at the time of his death, was killed in a drone strike at President Donald Trump’s direction.
“Death to America, death to Israel,” the crowds chanted, according to The Washington Post, as vehicles belonging to Iran-backed militias clogged the streets during the funeral procession. “We will take our revenge!”
“America will pay a heavy price!” one man called to the Baghdad crowds using a loudspeaker.
He demanded Iraq’s parliament expel U.S. forces from the country.
Another man in the crowd argued back that American forces should remain in Iraq, “so we can bury them here.”
Others in the crowd called out, “America is the Great Satan,” The Associated Press reported.
“Thirty-five vital American positions in the region are within the reach of the Islamic Republic, and Tel Aviv,” Brig. Gen. Gholamali Abuhamzeh, was quoted as saying.
“The Strait of Hormuz is a vital thoroughfare for the West, and a large number of American destroyers and warships cross the Strait of Hormuz, the Sea of Oman and the Persian Gulf,” he said.
“The Americans did not understand what grave mistake they committed,” Rouhani said, claiming that the U.S. “will face the consequences of this criminal act not only today, but also in the coming years.”
Rouhani was not the only Iranian leader embracing tough talk.
Soleimani’s “pure blood was shed in the hands of the most depraved of human beings,” Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said in a statement.
He vowed “harsh revenge.”
All friends—& enemies—know that Jihad of Resistance will continue with more motivation & definite victory awaits the fighters on this blessed path. The loss of our dear General is bitter. The continuing fight & ultimate victory will be more bitter for the murderers & criminals./4
— Khamenei.ir (@khamenei_ir) January 3, 2020
The drone strike that killed Soleimani was “tantamount to opening a war,” Majid Takht Ravanchi, Iran’s ambassador to the U.N., told CNN.
“The response for a military action is a military action. By whom? When? Where? That is for the future to witness,” he said.
Abdul-Karim Khalaf, a security spokesman for Iraq’s prime minister, said Iraq is investigating how the U.S. learned that Soleimani was in Baghdad
Khalaf told Iraq’s state-run news agency that U.S. forces are not allowed to act without Iraqi governmental approval, and suggested Iraq could ask American forces to leave the country.
“We have alternatives to train our armed forces,” Khalaf said.
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