Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei warned that a “harsh retaliation is waiting” for the United States after President Donald Trump ordered an airstrike that killed Iran’s top general near Baghdad’s airport.
Iran’s Supreme National Security Council said Friday it has reached a decision, but isn’t saying what it is, on how to respond to the U.S. killing of Gen. Qassem Soleimani, head of Iran’s elite Quds Force and architect of its interventions across the Middle East.
Calling Soleimani the “international face of resistance,” Khamenei also declared three days of public mourning for the general’s death.
The targeted killing marked a major escalation in the standoff between Washington and Iran, which has careened from one crisis to another since Trump withdrew from the 2015 nuclear deal and imposed crippling sanctions.
“This is different than the killing of Osama bin Laden and Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi,” Kamran Bokhari, founding director of the U.S.-based Center for Global Policy, told the media on Friday.
“Baghdadi and Osama bin Laden were leaders of terrorist organizations. This is an official of the Iranian government, the Iranian military.
It has also been learnt that The U.S. is sending nearly 3,000 additional troops to the Middle East as a precaution amid rising threats to U.S. forces in the region, U.S. officials said on Friday. Around 5,200 U.S. troops are based in Iraq, where they mainly train Iraqi forces and help to combat ISIS.