Fears of Retaliatory Attack as Anniversary of Soleimani Killing Nears
US officials are watching for a possible retaliatory attack from Iran this weekend, to coincide with the one year anniversary of the assassination of General Qassem Solemani.
The US flew a strategic bomber mission yesterday for the third time in 45 days, according to the Washington Post, as a show of force to deter any Iranian attack.
“The United States continues to deploy combat-ready capabilities into the U.S. Central Command area of responsibility to deter any potential adversary, and make clear that we are ready and able to respond to any aggression directed at Americans or our interests,” said Marine General Kenneth “Frank” McKenzie, chief of U.S. Central Command, to the paper.
On Jan. 3, 2020, the leader of Iran’s Quds Force was killed in a US drone strike, along with Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, the leader of the Kataib Hezbollah militia. Iran will mark the anniversary on Jan. 2. to correspond to the Iranian calendar, which is in a leap year.
In a speech today, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani promised to avenge the death of the influential Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps general, and said that President Donald Trump would be “a disgraced person in history for his crimes.”
#Iran's President Rouhani said today that Trump, who "will be disgraced for his crimes… will not only be ousted from power, but also life in the next few weeks".
Added that Iran and Mideast nations will avenge Soleimani's assassination. pic.twitter.com/ZE1WufCu7y
— Kian Sharifi (@KianSharifi) December 31, 2020
Israel has also been eyeing the anniversary date, reportedly sending a submarine to the Persian Gulf last week, which triggered threatening comments from an Iranian official. In remarks at the Weizmann Institute on Wednesday, Israeli Air Force commander Maj. General Amikam Nurkin drew a red line. “We will not allow Iranian capabilities on the border and we will not allow the capabilities of precision missiles in Lebanon,” he said.
In the Gaza Strip today, Hamas’ Internal Security Force arrested Sheikh Majdi al-Mughrabi, an ISIS-affiliated jihadist, for tearing down a large poster of Soleimani in the city of Rafah, according to the Jerusalem Post. The poster praised the Iranian general as a “martyr of Jerusalem.”