The US military on Monday, January 3 shot down two armed drones as they headed toward a facility housing US advisers at the same airport where US drones killed Iranian General Qassemi Soleimani two years ago following Donald Trump’s orders.
In Monday’s attack, the drones were shot down by the C-RAM defence system that protects American installations in Iraq, and there were no reports of damage or injuries from the incident.
No group has claimed responsibility for the attack, although one of the wings of the drones had the words ‘Soleimani’s revenge’ painted on it, according to the coalition and Iraqi officials.
‘These are attacks against Iraqi installations and an attack against the Iraqi people and the military that protects them,’ a US coalition official said.
‘We maintain a minimal footprint on Iraqi bases. The coalition no longer has its own bases in Iraq.’
Before his death, Soleimani headed the Quds Force, the shadowy operations arm of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards, with links to jihadists in Iraq, Lebanon, the Palestinian territories, Syria and Yemen.
The general was blown up in his motorcade by a Reaper drone missile outside Baghdad airport in 2020 in a strike ordered by Trump after intelligence revealed Soleimani was planning attacks on American soldiers in Iraq.
Iranian President, Ebrahim Raisi delivered a speech during a ceremony in the capital Tehran, on January 3 commemorating the second anniversary of the killing in Iraq of Iranian commander Qasem Soleimani where he promised revenge over the general’s killing . He also called Trump an ‘asssasin’ who must face ‘retribution’.
Addressing Tehran’s largest mosque, Raisi said: ‘The aggressor and the main assassin, the then president of the United States, must face justice and retribution’ alongside former US secretary of state Mike Pompeo ‘and other criminals’.
‘Otherwise, I will tell all US leaders that without a doubt the hand of revenge will emerge from the sleeve of the Muslim nation.’
Though the US-led coalition formally ended its combat mission supporting Iraqi forces in the ongoing fight against ISIS in December 2021, almost 2,500 troops remain in the country as the coalition shifts to an advisory mission to continue supporting Iraqi forces.