Expediency Council Secretary and ex-Chief of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Mohsen Rezaei threatened to “annihilate Haifa and the centres of Israel” in case of US retaliation, amid heightened tensions over the assassination of top Iranian commander Qasem Soleimani in a US airstrike. The statement came during a mourning ceremony for Soleimani in Tehran, on Sunday.
“If we take revenge, then you would attack? Be sure we will utterly annihilate Haifa and the centres of Israel and there will be no Israel,” said Rezaei, before the crowd started chanting “Death to America, death to Israel.”
“We are serious about the issue of revenge and retaliation against you and your soldiers and we will have no hesitation and we will not give up on it,” added Rezaei.
Soleimani and the deputy leader of Iraq’s Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF) Mohammed Ali Ebrahimi, also known as Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, and other militia leaders were killed in a US airstrike at Baghdad’s international airport in the early hours of Friday morning.
The Pentagon released a statement confirming the US had carried out the airstrike at the order of US President Donald Trump, calling it a “decisive defensive action to protect US personnel abroad.” Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said “severe revenge awaits the criminals” behind the attack.