An American airstrike last week that killed Iranian Major-General Qasim Soleimani and Iraqi militia leader Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis drove the already politically fractured region into an entirely new era of high tensions and instability.
President Trump celebrated the assassination of Soleimani as a big win for America, stating that the slain commander of the Iran Revolutionary Guard's Quds Force had put in harm's way multiple American lives.
As Iran promises revenge, people of the country came out by the millions to protest the American operation and pay their respects to the martyred 'Hero of the Iranian people'. Here is what we know:
- Protests against US operations in Iraq and Syria are met with heavy protests by Iran-backed militias at the US embassy in Baghdad, ultimately leading to its evacuation.
- US airstrikes on January 3, 2020, led to the death of IRG Quds Force commander Major-General Qasim Soleimani and Popular Mobilization Forces leader Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis outside of Baghdad International Airport.
A picture published by the media office of the Iraqi military's joint operations forces on their official Facebook page shows a destroyed vehicle on fire following a US strike on January 3, 2020 on Baghdad international airport road in which top Iranian commander Qasem Soleimani was killed along with eight others. (Photo courtesy: AFP)
- The US State Department issues a travel advisory urging all American citizens to leave Iraq by any means.
- President Donald Trump celebrates the assassination of the Quds Force commander, whose actions had killed Americans and had put many lives at stake. He added that the General had plotted terror attacks in New Delhi as well as London.
Read: Soleimani contributed to plotting terror attacks in New Delhi, London: Trump
- Secretary of State Michael Pompeo defends his President's actions and statements.
- Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei instates a period of mourning across Iran, declares Soleimani a martyred 'Hero' and vows revenge.
An image grab from an Iran Press video shows Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei (L), accompanied by Ebrahim Raisi, Chief Justice of Iran , weeping as he recites a prayer in front of the coffin of slain Iranian military commander Qasem Soleimani duing a funeral procession in the capital Tehran on January 6, 2020. (Photo courtesy: AFP)
- Millions of people across the country pour into the streets to mourn the loss of one of the most important figures in the country. The sheer number of people represent the General's death the most devastating for the country since the demise of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini.
- For the first time in the history of Iran, a red flag was raised over the Holy Dome of Jamkaran Mosque symbolising a severe battle to come.
Watch: Iran raises the 'revenge flag' over mosque after Soleimani's killing by U.S.
- On January 5, 2020, the Iraqi parliament voted to expel American troops stationed in the country, a move highly contested by American President Trump.
- Leaders across the world are calling for a de-escalation of tensions and suggest to utilise all diplomatic and non-physical means to settle and prevent any further conflict.
Iranian mourners gather during the final stage of funeral processions for slain top general Qasem Soleimani, in his hometown Kerman on January 7, 2020. (Photo courtesy: AFP)
- On January 6, 2020, addressing the crowd during a funeral procession was the General's daughter, Zeinab Soleimani, calling the American President ‘Crazy Trump', adding: "Don’t think everything is over". She promised "dark days" for the US in the days ahead.
- The new head of the Iran Revolutionary Guards' Quds force Esmail Qaani vowed to expel the United States from the region.
- On January 7, 2019, Soleimani's body reached his hometown of Kerman in Southeastern Iran, where people in tears, clad in black gathered on the streets to pay their last respects to the fallen 'Hero'.
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Read: Iranians gather for Soleimani's funeral procession in hometown Kerman
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Watch: Ayatollah Khamenei vows ‘severe revenge’ for Soleimani killing
Watch: Funeral procession of Qasem Soleimani, thousands Iranian mourn Soleimani's death