RNA - “The US-led international terrorism added yet another shameful page to its black record by martyring Lieutenant General Soleimani,” Ayatollah Rayeesi said.
The Iranian judiciary chief, meantime, extended his condolences to the nation of Iran and Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei on martyrdom of General Soleimani.
“Hundreds of Soleimanis will rise to wreak havoc in the eyes of the US terrorist government and international terrorism around the world,” he added.
He noted that although the resistance front today is saddened by the martyrdom of General Soleimani and his great companion, Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, the resolute steps of this honorable commanders will resonance in the history.
Lieutenant General Soleimani was martyred in a targeted assassination attack by US aircraft at Baghdad International Airport early Friday morning.
"General Qassem Soleimani has been martyred by the US helicopters after lifetime efforts," the IRGC said in a statement 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 said the two were martyred in an American airstrike that targeted their vehicle on the road to the airport.
A PMF official said seven people were martyred by missiles fired by the US helicopters at Baghdad International Airport.
He said the dead included the PMF airport protocol officer, Mohammed Reda.
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.
US President Donald Trump was vacationing on his estate in Palm Beach, Florida, but sent out a tweet of an American flag.
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.