The killing of top Iranian commander Qassem Soleimani will lead to the liberation of Jerusalem, the spokesman for the elite Revolutionary Guards said on Thursday, according to the Tasnim news agency.
Soleimani was killed by a U.S. drone strike in Baghdad on January 3 along with Iraqi militia commander Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis.
"The cowardly and craven assassination of commander Soleimani and Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis by the Americans will lead to the liberation of Jerusalem by the grace of God," Ramezan Sharif said.
Soleimani was involved in Iranian military activity in many countries, including Iraq, Afghanistan and the Caucasus states, and was considered one of the people closest to Iran’s supreme leader, Ali Khamenei.
The 61-year-old father of five didn't give many interviews to the Iranian media; he left that to the politicians, for whom he didn't have much respect for. He wasn’t a religious scholar and didn’t receive a religious education.
Soleimani has been linked with several attacks and attempted attacks on Israeli and Jewish targets worldwide, including the 1994 bombing of a Jewish community center in Buenos Aires, the attack on an Israeli tour bus in Burgas, Bulgaria in 2012, and sending the Karine A arms ship to the Palestinians in 2002. (It was intercepted by Israel before reaching its destination.) The latest was the failed attack on Israel Defense Forces targets along the northern border Wednesday night, which provoked an IDF response that did significant damage to the military infrastructure Soleimani has built in Syria over the last year.
On at least two occasions, American forces could have killed Soleimani but refrained, due mainly to considerations of local politics and Washington’s desire to preserve the undercover cooperation with Tehran in the war against ISIS in Iraq.