Saturday, January 4, 2020

Iran vows to hit 35 US targets

Iran vows to hit 35 US targets as it unfurls red flag of WAR after America executed General Soleimani

Jon Lockett
4 Jan 2020, 15:57
Updated: 4 Jan 2020, 18:23

Jon Lockett
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IRAN today pinpointed 35 'key US targets' as it unfurled a red flag of revenge after its top general was assassinated in a US drone strike.

Hours later, rockets were fired near the US Embassy in Baghdad and at an airbase housing American troops, according to reports. 

14 Red flags in Shiite tradition symbolise the need for a bloody revengeCredit: Twitter

14 The flag was unfurled on top of the Jamkaran Mosque, in QomCredit: Twitter

General Qasem Soleimani was the head of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards' elite Quds Force

14 The Jamkaran Mosque is a popular pilgrimage site for Shiite MuslimsCredit: CC-BY-SA
The two attacks came just hours after mourners chanted "death to America" at the funeral of top Iranian general Qasem Soleimani.

There are not believed to be any injuries after the rockets fell at the embassy compound - in the Iraqi capital's green zone - and near Iraq's Balad airbase.

Missiles also rained down on Baghdad's Jadriya neighbourhood - wounding five people, police said.

The chilling flag display is seen as a clear warning the Islamic Republic is ready to fulfil its worrying pledge to strike back at America and Donald Trump.

Chillingly written across the "war flag" were the words: "Those who want to avenge the blood of Hussein".

Red flags in Shiite tradition symbolise both blood spilled unjustly and serve as a call to avenge a person who is slain.

It was hoisted above the important Jamkaran Mosque which is on the outskirts of the holy city of Qom, about 100 miles south of Tehran.

It took to the skies as General Qasem Soleimani's daughter pleaded with the Iranian president to strike back over her father's death.

“Who is going to avenge my father’s blood?” she was reported as asking Hassan Rouhani during his visit to the family's Tehran home.

“We will avenge, all of us will avenge his blood. Don’t you worry,” Mr Rouhani replied, according to Iraqi Kurdistan news site Rudaw.

The news came as an Iranian military leader said his forces had pinpointed dozens of US interests for attack including “destroyers and warships” near the Persian Gulf and Tel Aviv.

General Gholamali Abuhamzeh warned of a possible attack on “vital American targets” located in the Strait of Hormuz in retaliation of Soleimani’s death.

“Vital American targets in the region have been identified by Iran since long time ago ... some 35 US targets in the region, as well as Tel Aviv, are within our reach," he said.

NATO has now suspended training of Iraqi security and armed forces in the region sparking more fears a full-scale conflict is imminent.

"The safety of our personnel in Iraq is paramount," acting NATO spokesman Dylan White said in a statement.

"We continue to take all precautions necessary. NATO's mission is continuing, but training activities are temporarily suspended."

Earlier tens of thousands of mourners chanting 'death to America' mobbed a funeral procession for the powerful general and other militia killed in the US airstrike later branded an 'act of war' by Tehran.

Amir Hatami, Iran's defence minister, has threatened the US with "crushing revenge" for Gen Soleimani's "unjust assassination".

Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said "severe revenge awaits the criminals" behind the attack.

14 Mourners surround a car carrying the coffin of Iranian military commander Qasem SoleimaniCredit: AFP or licensors

14 Mourners marched in the streets alongside militia vehicles during the processionCredit: AFP or licensors

14 The wreckage of a car said to be the one Soleimani was travelling inCredit: Reuters

14 Many of the mourners were dressed in black and carried photos of the generalCredit: AFP or licensors

14 Others carried flags of Iran-backed militias that are fiercely loyal to SoleimaniCredit: Reuters

14 The procession began at the Imam Kadhim shrine in Baghdad, one of the most revered sites in Shiite IslamCredit: AP:Associated Press

14 Iraqi paramilitary chief Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis was also killed in the strikeCredit: AFP or licensors
A second airstrike hit an Iranian militia convoy north of Baghdad early on Saturday morning local time


14 Soleimani's body was identified by his large red gemstone ringCredit: PA:Press Association

14 Donald Trump defended the killing of the Iranian General as a defensive act to 'stop a war'Credit: AP:Associated Press

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