Iraqi Militant Leader Warns Of ‘Upcoming Battle’ With US, Promises ‘Great Victory’


David Krayden Ottawa Bureau Chief
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The new leader of the pro-Iranian Iraqi militant force who is believed to be the author of last week’s attack on the United States embassy in Baghdad is calling Friday for an “upcoming battle” with Americans in Iraq.

Qais al-Khazali said that he is putting his militia on “high alert” following a U.S. attack ordered by President Donald Trump that killed Iranian Major General Qasem Soleimani and Iraqi militia commander Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, formerly the  leader of Kata’ib Hezbollah, known as the Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF), an Iraqi paramilitary group with terrorist designs.

“All fighters should be on high alert for upcoming battle and great victory. The price for the blood for the martyred commander Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis is the complete end to American military presence in Iraq,” local TV channel al-Ahd, which maintains connections to his militant force, quoted Khazali, according to The New York Times. (RELATED: 100 Marines Sent To Baghdad To Fortify Embassy Defenses Amid Protests)

Demonstrators burn the U.S. and British flags during a protest against the assassination of the Iranian Major-General Qassem Soleimani, head of the elite Quds Force, and Iraqi militia commander Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis who were killed in an air strike in Baghdad airport, in Tehran, Iran January 3, 2020. WANA (West Asia News Agency)/Nazanin Tabatabaee via REUTERS

Demonstrators burn the U.S. and British flags (West Asia News Agency)/Nazanin Tabatabaee via REUTERS

Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei also promised to enact revenge against the American “criminals” who killed Soleimani, adding that although the loss of the general is deeply felt by Iran, his death will only increase Iran’s motivation to fight the United States and Israel, Reuters reported Thursday.

Khamenei said Iran will honor Soleimani with three days of mourning and announced that the late general’s deputy, Brigadier General Esmail Ghaani, will replace him as Quds Force commander. The terrorist cell’s objectives “will be unchanged from the time of his predecessor,” Khamenei said in a statement reported by Reuters.

Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley told reporters Thursday that the United States is prepared for further military action and anyone trying to violate security at the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad “will run into a buzzsaw.” (RELATED: Militiamen Withdraw From Attack On US Embassy In Baghdad)

U.S. Army General Mark Milley is seen as U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper speaks about airstrikes by the U.S. military in Iraq and Syria, at the Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Florida, U.S., December 29, 2019. REUTERS/Tom Brenner

U.S. Army General Mark Milley REUTERS/Tom Brenner

Milley was participating in a news conference with Defense Secretary Mark Esper when he made the comments, according to the Military Times. Both men were responding to a Tuesday attack on the embassy by protesters who scaled the wall and entered the building while shouting “Death to America!”