FILE: Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei delivering a speech, June 4, 2007. (AFP/Atta Kenare)
CAIRO – 3 January 2020: Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei vowed "severe revenge" after the killing of Qasem Soleimani, head of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards' elite Quds Force and Hashed al-Shaabi militia in Iraq, during an attack on Baghdad's airport early Friday.
According to a statement from the Iraqi military, rockets slammed into the airport early Friday, targeting a Hashed paramilitary convoy.
Iraqi State television reported Soleimani's death in a breaking news alert, citing sources from the Hashed, which is dominated by Shiite-majority factions close to Tehran.
Security sources said the rockets left eight people dead, including "important figures."
Mohsen Rezai, a former IRGC head, said on Friday that “revenge would be exacted on the United States for killing Soleimani.”
"Soleimani joined his martyr brothers but we will exact terrible vengeance upon America," Rezai, who currently heads the Expediency Council, wrote on Twitter.
The airport attack also killed Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, the group's deputy chief.
Iran's foreign minister also slammed the killing of Soleimani as a “dangerous escalation” and further warned the United States would bear responsibility for the consequences.
"The US' act of international terrorism, targeting and assassinating General Soleimani... is extremely dangerous and a foolish escalation," Mohammad Javad Zarif wrote on Twitter.
"The US bears responsibility for all consequences of its rogue adventurism," he added.
President Donald Trump tweeted a picture of the American flag after the death of Soleimani was announced.
On Tuesday, a mob of Hashed supporters and militia surrounded the US embassy and held several diplomats inside in outrage over American air strikes that killed 25 fighters from the network's hardline Kataeb Hezbollah faction, which is backed by Iran.