Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah said the U.S. military would pay the price of killing Iranian Major General Qassem Soleimani on Sunday, threatening that U.S. soldiers and officers would return home in coffins.
In a speech marking Soleimani’s death and a top Iraqi militia leader in a targeted U.S. air strike, Nasrallah said it was not only Iran’s duty to respond to the killing, but also its allies ‘ responsibility.
But it’s not intended to threaten U.S. people, he said.
The Lebanese organization Hezbollah, established in 1982 by Iran’s Revolutionary Guards, is a critical part of a regional military coalition sponsored by Iran.
Soleimani, Iran’s pre-eminent military commander, was killed on Friday in an assault that put on uncharted territory long-running tensions between Washington and Tehran, raising the specter of broader Middle East conflict.
“American military activity in the area is (aimed at) fair punishment: American military bases, American naval ships, every American officer and soldier in our country and region,” Nasrallah said.
“The American army is the one that destroys them and it’s the one that’s going to pay the price,” Nasrallah said, while U.S. citizens in the area “shouldn’t be targeted” because that would serve the U.S. agenda. Chairman Donald Trump.
“When American soldiers and officers ‘ coffins begin to be transported… to the US, Trump and his administration will realize they’ve really lost the country and will lose the elections,” Nasrallah said, referring to the US presidential vote in 2020.
The United States retains the blame of Hezbollah for the suicide bombing that devastated the United States. Navy headquarters in Beirut in October 1983, killing 241 troops and bombing the U.S. embassy that same year.
The next year, U.S. forces withdrew from Lebanon.
In an apparent reference to these attacks, Nasrallah said that there were more potential suicide bombers in the area than in the past.
Hezbollah has helped establish paramilitary groups funded by Iran in Syria and Iraq and motivated the Houthis allied with Iran. They are part of what Iran calls the “axis of resistance,” along with Palestinian groups and the Syrian government.
“We all need to pursue justice beyond the scope of our region and country,” Nasrallah said during a rally by Hezbollah supporters in Beirut’s southern suburbs controlled by Hezbollah.
Others chanted “death to America” at the protest, raised the yellow flag of Hezbollah, kept aloft Soleimani images.
Nasrallah said the murder marked a new chapter of Middle East history. Attacks on the region’s U.S. military will cause U.S. forces to leave as they left in the past, “humiliated, defeated, and in fear.” (Writing by Tom Perry Editing by Kevin Liffey and David Holmes by Laila Bassam and Nadine Awadallah)