The daughter of Iran's Gen. Qassem Soleimani says the death of her father will "not break us" and the United States should know that his blood will not go for free.
Zeinab Soleimani told Lebanon's Al-Manar TV — which is linked with the Iran-backed Hezbollah group —that the "filthy" President Donald Trump will not be able to wipe out the achievements of the slain Iranian leader.
In the short interview aired Sunday, Zeinab Soleimani said Trump is not courageous because her father was targeted by missiles from afar and the U.S. president should have "stood face to face in front of him."
The young woman, who spoke in Farsi with Arabic voice over, said that she knows that Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah will avenge the death of her father.
The U.S. has warned American citizens in Saudi Arabia "of the heightened risk of missile and drone attacks" amid soaring tensions with Iran.
A security alert message sent Sunday by the U.S. mission there said that in the past "regional actors hostile to Saudi Arabia have conducted missile and drone attacks against both civilian and military targets inside the kingdom."
It warned that U.S. citizens living and working near military bases, oil and gas facilities and other critical civilian infrastructure are at heightened risk of attack, particularly in the Eastern Province where the oil giant Aramco is headquartered and areas near the border with Yemen.
Britain's foreign minister says it is trying to "de-escalate" a volatile situation after a U.S. drone strike killed Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani
Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said on Sunday in an interview with broadcaster Sky News that Soleimani "was a regional menace."
Raab added that the UK understood the U.S.'s "position" and "right to exercise self-defense."
But Raab said the U.K. was discussing with top officials in the U.S. and Europe, as well as Iran and Iraq, about how to avoid a war, which he said wouldn't be in anyone's interests. Britain's Defense Secretary Ben Wallace said late Saturday that he had ordered two British Navy warships, the HMS Montrose frigate and the HMS Defender destroyer, to return to the Strait of Hormuz amid the soaring regional tensions.
Iran's Foreign Ministry spokesman says that officials in the Islamic Republic plan to meet Sunday night to discuss their next step out of the nuclear deal and that it will be even bigger than initially planned.
Abbas Mousavi made the comment Sunday during a briefing with journalists after a U.S. airstrike killed Iranian Revolutionary Guard Gen. Qassem Soleimani.
Mousavi said the step would be greater than planned as "in the world of politics, all developments are interconnected."
If taken, it would be the fifth step to break terms of Tehran's 2015 nuclear deal with world powers, which saw Iran limit its enrichment of uranium in exchange for the lifting of economic sanctions.
Mousavi did not elaborate on what that step could be. Iran previously has broken limits of its enrichment, its stockpiles and its centrifuges, as well as restarted enrichment at an underground facility.
Major stock markets in the Middle East are trading down on fears of a conflict between Iran and the U.S. after an American drone strike killed Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani.
The Boursa Kuwait closed down 4%. The Dubai Financial Market closed down just over 3%. Riyadh's Tadawul was down over 2% as trading continued. The Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange fell 1.42%.
Egypt's stock exchange also fell 4%.
Meanwhile, oil prices continued to rise. Brent crude traded up 3.5% to $68.60 a barrel.
The U.S. killed Soleimani on Friday. Early Sunday, as Iran threatened "harsh retaliation," President Donald Trump tweeted the U.S. was prepared to strike 52 sites in the Islamic Republic if any Americans are harmed.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says President Donald Trump is "worthy of all appreciation" for ordering the killing of Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani.
Netanyahu told his Cabinet Sunday that Soleimani "initiated, planned and carried out many terror attacks" in the Middle East and beyond. Israel has long accused Soleimani of being the mastermind of Iran's belligerency in the region.
Netanyahu said Israel stood alongside the United States in its current campaign against Iran.
Netanyahu has been among the strongest voices against Iran's Islamic rulers in recent years. The Israeli leader pushed hard against the nuclear deal Western powers signed with Tehran in 2015 and which Trump later reversed.
The United States killed Soleimani in a drone airstrike at Baghdad's international airport early Friday. The Iranian commander was widely seen as the architect of Tehran's proxy wars in the Middle East.
The deputy leader of Lebanon's militant Hezbollah group says the United States carried out a "very stupid act" by killing Iran's Gen. Qassem Soleimani.
Sheikh Naim Kassem made his comments on Sunday after paying a visit to the Iranian embassy in Beirut where he paid condolences. He said the attack will make Tehran and its allies stronger.
Kassem told reporters "now we have more responsibilities" adding that the United States will discover that "its calculations" were wrong.
Heazbollah is a close ally of Iran's and considered part of a regional Iranian-backed alliance of proxy militias.
Iranian officials are criticizing President Donald Trump's threats to target sites important to Iran's culture.
Trump threatened Iranian cultural sites would be hit fast and hard if Tehran attacks U.S. assets to avenge the killing of a powerful Iranian general.
Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammed Javad Zarif wrote on Twitter Sunday that after committing "grave breaches" in the killing of Gen. Qassem Soleimani, Trump is threatening new breaches of international law.
Zarif wrote: "Targeting cultural sites is a WAR CRIME."
Telecommunications minister Mohammad Javad Azari Jahromi compared Trump's threats to the Islamic State group, Adolf Hitler and Genghis Khan.
"They all hate cultures. Trump is a 'terrorist in a suit'," Jahromi wrote on Twitter, warning that nobody can defeat Iran.
Iraq's Iran-backed militias say that some remains of the Iranian top general and Iraqi militant leader killed in the U.S. drone strike in Iraq were sent to Iran for DNA tests to identify their corpses.
The Popular Mobilization Forces said in a statement Sunday that the bodies of the two commanders as well as an Iraqi bodyguard were torn to pieces and mangled by the explosion of the American missiles near Baghdad's international airport.
It said the test will take few days after which the remains of the Iraqi commander, Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, will be brought back to Iraq for burial in the holy Shiite city of Najaf.
Al-Muhandis was closely allied with Iran for decades.
Iran has declared three days of public mourning over Gen. Qassem Soleimani's death in the U.S. attack.
The body of a top Iranian commander, who was killed in a U.S. drone strike, has arrived in Iran as the crisis between the two countries escalates.
Throngs of mourners carried Sunday the flag-draped casket of Gen. Qassem Soleimani off a plane in Ahvaz in southwestern Iran.
The U.S. drone strike targeting Soleimani in Iraq Friday also killed a leader of an Iran-backed Iraqi militia, Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis.
President Donald Trump threatened to bomb 52 sites in Iran if it retaliates by attacking Americans.
The tensions take root in Trump pulling out of Iran's nuclear deal with world powers. That accord soon likely will further unravel as Tehran is expected to announce as soon as Sunday another set of atomic limits the country will break.
Thousands of militiamen and other supporters chanting "America is the Great Satan" marched in a funeral procession Saturday in Baghdad for Iran's top general after he was killed in a U.S. airstrike, as the region braced for the Islamic Republic to fulfill its vows of revenge.
Gen. Qassem Soleimani, the head of Iran's elite Quds Force and mastermind of its regional security strategy, was killed early Friday near the Baghdad international airport along with senior Iraqi militants in an airstrike ordered by President Donald Trump. The attack has caused regional tensions to soar and tested the U.S. alliance with Iraq.
Iran has vowed harsh retaliation, raising fears of an all-out war, but it's unclear how or when it might respond. Any retaliation was likely to come after three days of mourning declared by Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. All eyes were on Iraq, where America and Iran have competed for influence since the 2003 U.S.-led invasion.
Trump says he ordered the strike, a high-risk decision that was made without consulting Congress or U.S. allies, to prevent a conflict. U.S. officials say Soleimani was plotting a series of attacks that endangered American troops and officials, without providing evidence.
The U.S.-led coalition has scaled back operations and boosted "security and defensive measures" at bases hosting coalition forces in Iraq, a coalition official said on condition of anonymity according to regulations. The U.S. has meanwhile dispatched another 3,000 troops to neighboring Kuwait, the latest in a series of deployments in recent months as the standoff with Iran has worsened.
Soleimani was the architect of Iran's regional policy of mobilizing militias across Iraq, Syria and Lebanon, including in the war against the Islamic State group. He was also blamed for attacks on U.S. troops and American allies going back decades.
In Baghdad, thousands of mourners, mostly men in black military fatigues, carried Iraqi flags and the flags of Iran-backed militias that are fiercely loyal to Soleimani at Saturday's ceremony. They were also mourning Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, a senior Iraqi militia commander who was killed in the same strike.
The mourners, many of them in tears, chanted "No, No, America," and "Death to America, death to Israel." Mohammed Fadl, a mourner dressed in black, said the funeral is an expression of loyalty to the slain leaders. "It is a painful strike, but it will not shake us," he said.
Helicopters hovered over the procession, which was attended by Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi and leaders of Iran-backed militias. The procession later made its way to the Shiite holy city of Karbala, where the mourners raised red flags associated with unjust bloodshed and revenge.
The slain Iraqi militants will be buried in Najaf, while Soleimani's remains will be taken to Iran. More funeral services will be held for Soleimani in Iran on Sunday and Monday, before his body is laid to rest in his hometown of Kerman.
The day of mourning was followed by a series of rockets that were launched Saturday evening and fell inside or near the Green Zone, which houses government offices and foreign embassies, including the U.S. Embassy.
No one was injured by a Katyusha rocket that fell inside the square less than one kilometer from the embassy, according to an Iraqi security official who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to reporters. The security official said another rocket in Baghdad landed about 500 meters from As-Salam palace where the Iraqi President Barham Salih normally stays in Jadriya, a neighborhood adjacent to the Green Zone.
Another security official said three rockets fell outside an air base north of Baghdad were American contractors are normally present. The rockets landed outside the base in a farm area and there were no reports of damages, according to the official.
One of the Iran-backed militia, Asaib Ahl al-Haq, or League of the Righteous, called on Iraqi security forces to stay away from U.S. bases, keep at least a 1,000 meters distance (0.6 miles) starting Sunday night. "The leaders of the security forces should protect the safety of their fighters and not allow them to be human shields to the occupying Crusaders," the warning statement said, in reference to the Coalition bases.
Iraq's government, which is closely allied with Iran, condemned the airstrike that killed Soleimani, calling it an attack on its national sovereignty. Parliament is meeting for an emergency session Sunday, and the government has come under mounting pressure to expel the 5,200 American troops based in the country, who are there to help prevent a resurgence of the Islamic State group.
Hadi al-Amiri, who heads a large parliamentary bloc and is expected to replace al-Muhandis as deputy commander of the Popular Mobilization Forces, an umbrella group of mostly Iran-backed militias, was among those paying their final respects in Baghdad.
"Rest assured," he said before al-Muhandis' coffin in a video circulated on social media. "The price of your pure blood will be the exit of U.S. forces from Iraq forever."
The U.S. has ordered all citizens to leave Iraq and temporarily closed its embassy in Baghdad, where Iran-backed militiamen and their supporters staged two days of violent protests earlier this week in which they breached the compound. Britain and France have warned their citizens to avoid or strictly limit travel in Iraq.
No one was hurt in the embassy protests, which came in response to U.S. airstrikes that killed 25 Iran-backed militiamen in Iraq and Syria. The U.S. blamed the militia for a rocket attack that killed a U.S. contractor in northern Iraq.
Tensions between the U.S. and Iran have steadily intensified since Trump's decision to withdraw from the 2015 nuclear deal and restore crippling sanctions, which have devastated Iran's economy and contributed to recent protests there in which hundreds were reportedly killed.
The administration's "maximum pressure" campaign has led Iran to openly abandon commitments under the deal. The U.S. has also blamed Iran for a wave of increasingly provocative attacks in the region, including the sabotage of oil tankers in the Persian Gulf and an attack on Saudi Arabia's oil infrastructure in September that temporarily halved its production.
Iran denied involvement in those attacks, but admitted to shooting down a U.S. surveillance drone in June, saying it had strayed into its airspace.
Billboards and images of Soleimani, who was widely seen as a national icon and a hero of the so-called Axis of Resistance against Western hegemony, appeared on major streets in Iran Saturday with the warning from the supreme leader that "harsh revenge" awaits the U.S.
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani visited Soleimani's home in Tehran to express his condolences.
"The Americans did not realize what a great mistake they made," Rouhani said. "They will see the effects of this criminal act, not only today but for years to come."
On the streets of Tehran, many mourned Soleimani.
"I don't think there will be a war, but we must get his revenge," said Hojjat Sanieefar. America "can't hit and run anymore," he added.
Another man, who only identified himself as Amir, was worried.
"If there is a war, I am 100% sure it will not be to our betterment. The situation will certainly get worse," he said.
In an apparent effort to defuse tensions, Qatar's foreign minister, Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani, made an unplanned trip to Iran where he met with Rouhani and other senior officials.
Qatar, which has often served as a regional mediator, hosts American forces at the Al-Udeid Air Base and shares a massive offshore oil and gas field with Iran.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo meanwhile said he had spoken with Iraqi President Barham Salih, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu and Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, of the United Arab Emirates. "I reaffirmed that the U.S. remains committed to de-escalation," Pompeo tweeted.
A Saudi official had earlier confirmed to The Associated Press that the U.S. did not coordinate with Saudi Arabia before carrying out the strike that killed Soleimani. The official spoke on condition of anonymity in order to discuss defense matters.
In a sign of his regional reach, supporters in Lebanon hung billboards commemorating Soleimani in Beirut's southern suburbs and in southern Lebanon along the disputed border with Israel, according to the state-run National News Agency.
Both are strongholds of the Iran-backed Hezbollah militant group, whose leader, Hassan Nasrallah, has close ties to Soleimani. A portrait of Nasrallah could be seen in Soleimani's home when mourners paid tribute there.
Palestinian factions in the Gaza Strip, including the territory's Hamas rulers, opened a mourning site for the slain general and dozens gathered to burn American and Israeli flags. Iran has long provided aid to the armed wing of Hamas and to the smaller Islamic Jihad militant group.
Ismail Radwan, a senior Hamas official, said the killing of Soleimani was "a loss for Palestine and the resistance."
An Iranian-backed militia said Monday that the death toll from U.S. military strikes in Iraq and Syria against its fighters has risen to 25, vowing to exact revenge for the "aggression of evil American ravens."
The U.S. attack — the largest yet targeting an Iraqi state-sanctioned militia — and the calls for retaliation, represent a new escalation in the proxy war between the U.S. and Iran playing out in the Middle East that could threaten U.S. interests in the region.
The calls for revenge in Baghdad came a day after U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper said Washington had carried out military strikes targeting the Iranian-backed Iraqi militia it had blamed for a rocket attack that killed an American contractor in Iraq last week.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the strikes send the message that the U.S. will not tolerate actions by Iran that jeopardize American lives.
The U.S. military said "precision defensive strikes" were conducted against five sites of Kataeb Hezbollah, or Hezbollah Brigades in Iraq and Syria. The group, which is separate force from the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah, operates under the umbrella of the state-sanctioned militias known collectively as the Popular Mobilization Forces. Many of them are supported by Iran.
"Our battle with America and its mercenaries is now open to all possibilities," Kataeb Hezbollah said in a statement around midnight Sunday. "We have no alternative today other than confrontation and there is nothing that will prevent us from responding to this crime."
The U.S. blames the militia for a rocket barrage Friday that killed a U.S. defense contractor at a military compound near Kirkuk, in northern Iraq, as well as for a series of other attacks on bases that house American troops in Iraq that have not been claimed by any faction. Officials said as many as 30 rockets were fired in the Kirkuk attack.
A spokesman for Kataeb Hezbollah denied that the group was behind the rocket attacks on U.S. bases, including the one that killed the American contractor, saying Washington is using them as a pretext to attack his group.
The spokesman, Mohammed Mohieh, told The Associated Press the death toll from the American airstrikes rose to 25 on Monday and that at least 51 militiamen were wounded, some of whom were in serious condition. The militia would retaliate, he said but added that the group's commanders would decide on the form of retaliation.
"These forces must leave," he said of U.S. troops in Iraq, calling the latest attack a "crime" and a "massacre."
The U.S. has maintained some 5,000 troops in Iraq at the invitation of the Iraqi government, to help assist in the fight against the Islamic State group.
An official with the Popular Mobilization Forces said one of the American missiles struck a room where the fighters were taking a nap in the afternoon, killing some of them in their sleep as the ceiling collapsed. The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to talk to reporters, said U.S. forces have targeted Kataeb Hezbollah in the past but offered no evidence to support his claims.
In Tehran, foreign ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi condemned the U.S. strikes against Kataeb Hezbollah as an "obvious case of terrorism" and accused Washington of ignoring Iraq's sovereignty.
Lebanon's Iran-backed Hezbollah also blasted the "brutal American aggression," saying those who took the decision to carry out the attack "will soon discover how stupid this criminal decision was."
Kataeb Hezbollah is led by Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, one of Iraq's most powerful men. He once battled U.S. troops and is now the deputy head of the Popular Mobilization Forces. In 2009, the State Department linked him to the elite Quds Force of Iran's Revolutionary Guard, designated a foreign terrorist organization by President Donald Trump earlier this year.
The attack that killed the American contractor and U.S. counter-strikes come as months of political turmoil roil Iraq. About 500 people have died in anti-government protests, most of them demonstrators killed by Iraqi security forces.
The mass uprisings prompted the resignation last month of Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi, who remains in a caretaker capacity.
In a statement, Abdul-Mahdi said Esper had called him about a half-hour before the U.S. strikes on Sunday to tell him of U.S. intentions to hit bases of the militia suspected of being behind Friday's rocket attack. Abdul-Mahdi said he asked Esper to call off the U.S. plan.
Turkey's main opposition party said Monday it does not support the government's plans to deploy troops to Libya, saying the move would embroil Turkey in another conflict and make it a party to the "shedding of Muslim blood."
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said the U.N.-supported government in Libya asked Ankara to send troops to help authorities in Tripoli defend the city from an offensive by rival forces.
The Turkish government is expected to submit a motion to parliament Monday allowing the deployment of Turkish forces to the conflict-torn country. A vote could take place as early as Thursday.
Although the details concerning the possible deployment have not been revealed, the main opposition Republican Peoples' Party, or CHP, made clear its lawmakers would vote against it.
"We don't want this terrible picture that unfolded in Syria to unfold in yet another country," Unal Cevikoz, the CHP's deputy chairman told reporters after a meeting with Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu.
"We will never accept Turkey to be a part of the proxy war in Libya and, by siding with one of the sides of the conflict, for it to be a cause of the shedding of Muslim blood," Cevikoz said.
Cevikoz said Turkey must instead "give priority to a diplomatic solution" in Libya.
However, Erdogan's ruling party is in an alliance with a nationalist party, and together the two have sufficient votes to pass the deployment motion.
Cavusoglu, the foreign minister, later also held talks with the leader of another opposition party, to seek support for the motion. That party has not made up its mind about backing the motion, he said.
Erdogan said last week that the government of Libyan Prime Minister Fayez Sarraj in Tripoli "invited" Turkey to send troops after the two recently signed a military cooperation agreement. Ankara and Tripoli have also signed a maritime deal. Both agreements have met with criticism across the region and beyond.
Sarraj's administration has faced an offensive since April by the rival government based in eastern Libya and forces loyal to commander Gen. Khalifa Hifter, who is trying to take Tripoli.
The fighting around Tripoli escalated in recent weeks after Hifter declared a "final" and decisive battle for the capital.
Hifter is backed by the United Arab Emirates and Egypt, as well as France and Russia, while the Tripoli-based government receives aid from Turkey, Qatar and Italy.
Iran is against creating a buffer zone in Syria by any country, a top advisor to Iran's supreme leader said on Saturday.
The creation of a buffer zone and foreign interference in Syria means "making changes to a part of the region and disintegration of the countries," Ali Akbar Velayati was quoted as saying by Tehran Times daily.
"Iran opposes any kind of foreign interference in the regional countries and will resist any cruelty, aggression, and plots to weaken and disintegrate the regional states," he said during a meeting with a visiting group of heads of the Syrian tribes.
Earlier this year, Turkey and Russia agreed on the parameters of a proposed Turkish "safe zone" in northern Syria.
Velayati also expressed hope that the Syrian government and its army will liberate the Idlib region from the militants.