Iran’s new Quds leader vows ‘manly’ revenge for Soleimani killing
Esmail Qaani made the remarks on Monday at an introduction ceremony held for him by top Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps’ (IRGC) commanders to mark the formal beginning of his tenure.
“They (US) hit him (Soleimani) in a cowardly way, but with God’s grace and through endeavours of freedom-seekers around the world who want vengeance over his blood, we will hit his enemy in a manly fashion,” he said.
Soleimani’s assassination in a US air strike in Baghdad on January 3 pushed the US and Iran to the brink of war, but fears of an all-out conflict eased when retaliatory Iranian attacks against US targets in Iraq on January 8 concluded without any fatalities.
Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Hosseini Khamenei has since called for the expulsion of all American troops from the Middle East.
The Quds Force is part of the 125,000-strong IRGC, a paramilitary organisation that answers only to Khamenei.
IRGC oversees Iran’s ballistic missile programme, has its naval forces shadow the US Navy in the Gulf, and includes an all-volunteer Basij force.
Under Soleimani, the Quds Force helped boost Iranian influence across the Middle East by building up a vast network of proxies.
In Syria, the unit played a key role in shoring up support for embattled Syrian President Bashar al-Assad after the country descended into war in 2011.
It also armed and trained militias that helped defeat the armed group ISIL (ISIS) in both Syria and Iraq.
Read more at: Aljazeera
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