Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei, has appointed deputy commander of Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) Quds Force, Esmaeil Qa'ani, as the new commander following the assassination of Major General Qassem Soleimani in United States airstrikes.
"Following the martyrdom of the glorious general Qasem Soleimani, I name Brigadier General Esmaeil Qa'ani as the commander of the Quds Force of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps," the Leader said in a statement posted on his official website.
“We tell everyone, be patient, and you will see the bodies of Americans all over the Middle East,” Qa'ani was quoted by Al-Jazeera as saying on Saturday.
Meanwhile the US State Department has urged American citizens to leave Iraq immediately.
“Due to heightened tensions in Iraq and the region, the US Embassy urges American citizens to heed the January 2020 Travel Advisory and depart Iraq immediately,” the State Department said in a statement released Friday. “Due to Iranian-backed militia attacks at the US Embassy compound, all public consular operations are suspended until further notice. US citizens should not approach the Embassy.”
Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, the second-in-command of Iraq's Popular Mobilization Units (PMU), was also killed in the US attack in five locations in Iraq and Syria targeting multiple weapons and munitions depots linked to Iran. Khamenei has vowed "severe revenge" against the US for the airstrikes that killed Iran’s top security and intelligence commander.
In the statement, the Leader described Gen. Qa'ani as one of the IRGC's most prominent commanders during Saddam Hussain's imposed war on Iran, which lasted eight years starting in 1980.