The Iranian Embassy in Pretoria has described the drone strike in Baghdad, Iraq, that killed Iranian General Qassem Soleimani as an ‘Act of War’ by the United States (US) and the embassy has echoed Tehran’s warning that Iran will strike back when it is ready.
US President Donald Trump says the drone strike on Soleimani was meant to prevent a war and not instigate one.
The US says Soleimani was responsible for the deaths of hundreds of Americans in the last decade. However, the Iranian embassy in Pretoria says Soleimani played a key role in the battle against ISIS in the region and Washington will have to bear the consequences of what the embassy describes in a statement as America’s ‘rogue adventurism’.
Meanwhile, with shouts of “Death to America”, tens of thousands of people marched in Iraq on Saturday to mourn Iranian military commander Qassem Soleimani and an Iraqi militia leader who were killed in a U.S. airstrike that has raised the specter of a wider conflict in the Middle East.
On Saturday evening, two loud blasts were heard in Baghdad, Reuters witnesses said. Police sources said a Katyusha rocket landed near the US embassy inside the city’s heavily fortified Green Zone but caused no casualties.
With security worries rising after Friday’s strike, the NATO alliance and a separate US-led mission suspended their programs to train Iraqi security and armed forces, officials said.
“The safety of our personnel in Iraq is paramount. We continue to take all precautions necessary,” acting NATO spokesman Dylan White said in a statement. – Additional reporting by Reuters