• Following a US-led airstrike that killed Iran’s top military commander Major-General Qassem Soleimani on Friday morning, the State Department urged all American citizens to leave Iraq
  • American citizens are also urged to stay away from the US Embassy located in Baghdad that was attacked by protesters on Tuesday
  • Iranian Defence Minister Amir Hatami was quoted saying “A crushing revenge will be taken for Soleimani’s unjust assassination

Following a US military airstrike at Baghdad’s airport that killed Iran’s top military commander, Major-General Qassem Soleimani, the US is now urging for American citizens to leave Iraq “immediately.”

Level 4: Do Not Travel

The State Department statement urging citizens to leave the area cited the reason as “heightened tensions in Iraq and the region.” The statement goes on to warn that “due to Iranian-backed militia attacks at the US Embassy compound in Baghdad, all consular operations are suspended. US citizens should not approach the Embassy.”

The warning comes following an attack on the US Embassy on Tuesday by protesters against US airstrikes targeting Iran-backed militia. On Wednesday protesters threw stones as US forces fired tear gas. By Wednesday evening the Iraqi government announced all groups had left the perimeter of the US Embassy.

As of December 26, Iran’s trip advisory has been placed at a “Level 4: Do Not Travel.” According to the State Department, “The U.S. government does not have diplomatic or consular relations with the Islamic Republic of Iran. The U.S. government is unable to provide emergency services to U.S. citizens in Iran.”

Donald Trump Made The Decision To Kill Qassem Soleimani

On New Year’s Eve, President Donald Trump stated he did not want war with Iran from a New Year’s Eve ball at Mar-a-Lago.

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However, Trump held a different and more aggressive position towards Iran on Twitter. In a tweet from New Year’s Eve, Trump wrote, “Iran will be held fully responsible for lives lost, or damage incurred, at any of our facilities. They will pay a very BIG PRICE! This is not a Warning, it is a Threat. Happy New Year!”

Friday’s airstrike that killed Soleimani was confirmed to be ordered by Trump. It was reported Trump was seen at Mar-a-Lago with top advisors after leaving Friday evening. At this time, Trump’s only comment on Soleimani’s death was a tweet of an American flag.

The White House also refused to comment and instead directing to a statement made by the Pentagon. “General Suleimani was actively developing plans to attack American diplomats and service members in Iraq and throughout the region,” the statement read. “General Suleimani and his Quds Force were responsible for the deaths of hundreds of American and coalition service members and the wounding of thousands more.”

K1 Military Base Attack Kills One US Contractor

It was reported Friday’s airstrike went into planning following the death of a US civilian contractor on December 27. According to the Iraqi military, K1 military base—which houses US troops in Kirkuk province in northern Baghdad—was attacked by several katyusha rockets. Several members of both the US and Iraqi military were wounded in the attack. According to Operation Inherent Resolve spokesperson Col. Myles B. Caggins II, the attack occurred at 7:20 p.m. Iraq time.

Iran Vows To Retaliate For Soleimani’s Assassination

Iran has vowed to retaliate over the assassination of Soleimani. Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zariff warned in a tweet on Friday the assassination was “was extremely dangerous & a foolish escalation.” Zariff went on to say, “The US bears responsibility for all consequences of its rogue adventurism.”

Iranian Defence Minister Amir Hatami was quoted by state news agency IRNA saying, “A crushing revenge will be taken for Soleimani’s unjust assassination … We will take revenge from all those involved and responsible for his assassination.” Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said Soleimani’s death will make Iran “more decisive” its resistance against the US.

Soleimani’s martyrdom will make Iran more decisive to resist America’s expansionism and to defend our Islamic values. With no doubt, Iran and other freedom-seeking countries in the region will take his revenge.

President Hassan Rouhani Via Reuters

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