Iraq’s top Shia cleric Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani has strongly condemned the US assassination of Iranian commander Qassem Soleimani and his comrades, calling them the “heroes of fight against Daesh” terrorist group.
In a message delivered by his representative during a sermon in the holy city of Karbala on Friday, Grand Ayatollah al-Sistani denounced as “cruel” the overnight attack which killed IRGC Quds Force Commander Major General Soleimani and top Hashd al-Sha’abi commander Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis along with several other fighters.
Ayatollah Sistani described the attack as a violation of Iraq’s national sovereignty and international charters, and called those assassinated the “heroes of the battles for victory against Daesh terrorists.”
Earlier Friday, Iraqi Prime Minister Adil Abdul-Mahdi condemned the US attack, warning of devastating consequences for Iraq as senior Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadr put all his forces on alert.
The United States confirmed early on Friday that its forces had assassinated Gen. Soleimani and Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, the second-in-command of Iraq’s pro-government Popular Mobilization Units (PMU), in an attack at Baghdad’s international airport.
Abdul-Mahdi blasted the US strike as a blatant act of “aggression” that would “spark a devastating war.”
He described General Soleimani and al-Muhandis as the icons of Iraq’s victory over Western-backed Daesh terrorists.
“The assassination of an Iraqi military commander in an official post is an aggression against the country of Iraq, its state, its government and its people,” the PM said, referring to al-Muhandis.