Thousands have taken to the streets to grieve, after Iran’s second most powerful commander was killed in a US airstrike last night. Ahmad Khatami, an adviser to Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, threatened American troops in the Middle East and says it is ‘time to clear the region from these insidious beasts’. Leading Friday prayers in Tehran just hours after the assassination, the cleric said Donald Trump’s administration would face severe consequences for the death of general Qassem Soleimani. He added: ‘I am telling Americans, especially Trump, we will take a revenge that will change their daylight into a nighttime darkness.’ The leader announced a three-day period of national mourning for the figure who led the the elite Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps’ (IRGC) Quds Force.
Iranian state TV channels are paying tributes to the ‘glorious martyr’, accompanying his image with a black ribbon, repeating Khatami’s threats of revenge against America. A presenter was filmed embracing military spokesman Ramezan Sharif as he burst into tears during the announcement of Soleimani’s death. Shortly after the bombing at Baghdad International Airport in Iraq, the Pentagon confirmed the US military had carried out the attack under orders of the President. They say Soleimani, 62 was responsible for series of proxy wars across the Middle East, including ‘orchestrated’ militia attacks on US-coalition bases in Iraq. He was also thought to have approved violent demonstrations at the American embassy in Baghdad earlier this week. Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said: ‘Trump through his gamble has dragged the US into the most dangerous situation in the region.
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