TEHRAN, Jan. 03 (MNA) – A number of international leaders have called for restraint and de-escalation following the targeted assassination of Iran’s top general, ordered by terrorist-sponsoring US President Donald Trump, as Iran’s allies warned that the killing could lead to conflict.
Qassem Soleimani, head of Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) Quds Force, was martyred in a US pre-dawn terrorist air raid at Baghdad’s international airport on Friday.
Iraqi caretaker Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi condemned the attack, calling it an “aggression” on Iraq that would “spark a devastating war”.
“The assassination of an Iraqi military commander is an aggression on Iraq as a state, government and people,” Abdul Mahdi said in a statement.
“Carrying out physical liquidation operations against leading Iraqi figures or from a brotherly country on the Iraqi lands is a flagrant violation of Iraq’s sovereignty and a dangerous escalation that triggers a destructive war in Iraq, the region and the world,” Abdul Mahdi said.
He added that the attack was also a “flagrant violation of the conditions authorizing the presence of US troops” on Iraqi soil.
The Syrian government accused Washington of trying to fuel conflict in the Middle East.
Syria is “certain that this cowardly US aggression … will only strengthen the determination to follow in the path of the resistance’s martyred leaders,” a foreign ministry official was quoted as saying by the state news agency SANA.
The official described the assassination as “a serious escalation of the situation” in the region and accused the US of resorting to “the methods of criminal gangs”.
The Turkish foreign ministry said that the killing of General Soleimani will increase insecurity and instability in the region.
In a written statement, the ministry said it was deeply concerned by the rising tensions between the US and Iran, and that turning Iraq into an area of conflict will harm peace and stability in the region.
Moscow warned that the US killing of General Soleimani would increase tensions across the Middle East.
“The killing of General Soleimani … was an adventurist step that will increase tensions throughout the region,” news agencies RIA Novosti and TASS quoted the foreign ministry as saying.
“General Soleimani served the cause of protecting Iran’s national interests with devotion. We express our sincere condolences to the Iranian people.”
China called for respecting Iraq’s sovereignty and territorial integrity
“We urge the relevant sides, especially the United States, to remain calm and exercise restraint to avoid further escalating tensions,” foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said at a daily news briefing.
“Meting out the appropriate punishment to these criminal assassins … will be the responsibility and task of all resistance fighters worldwide,” Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah said in a statement.
“We who stayed by his side will follow in his footsteps and strive day and night to accomplish his goals,” Nasrallah said.
Hamas, the Palestinian group which administers the besieged Gaza Strip, issued a statement saying “Soleimani was one of the leading Iranian army officials who had an important role in supporting the Palestinian resistance”.
“We condemn these continued American crimes sowing tensions in the region in service of the Israeli enemy,” it said.
The Palestinian Islamic Jihad group offered its condolences to the Iraqi people for the death of Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, describing him as one of the symbols of Iraqi liberation from the US occupation.
Chancellor Angela Merkel’s spokeswoman Ulrike Demmer urged restraint and de-escalation.
“We are at a dangerous point of escalation. It is now important through prudence and restraint to contribute to de-escalation,” Demmer said.