Qassem Soleimani, the head of the Quds Force, the extraterritorial wing of the Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), threatened Thursday to “wipe out” the State of Israel on the tenth anniversary of the assassination of Hezbollah terror chief Imad Mughniyeh, The Times of Israel reported .
Speaking at a Tehran ceremony, Iran’s supreme spy master said that the revenge for shedding Mughniyeh’s blood would be to “wipe out the Zionist entity.”
Imad Mughniyeh, the former global operations chief of Iranian-backed Lebanese terror group Hezbollah, who died in a bomb blast in Damascus on February 12, 2008, was reportedly assassinated in a joint Mossad-CIA operation. His son Jihad, a Hezbollah commander, was killed  in a 2015 airstrike, which was also attributed to Israel, on a military convoy near the border with Israel.
According to Iranian media reports, Soleimani charged that Israel lived in fear thanks to the sacrifice of Imad Mughniyeh and other “martyrs” in Lebanon, Iraq and Palestine and his death “resulted in Islamic uprising” against Israel.
The leader of the Quds Force also claimed that Mughniyeh “forced” Israel’s army to withdraw from southern Lebanon in 2000 and praised him for “fortifying the Gaza Strip,” where the Iranian-backed terror group Hamas is in complete political and military control.
Saleh al-Arouri, Hamas Politburo Deputy chief, also attended  the commemoration ceremony in Tehran.
In 2014, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, the Iran’s chief nuclear negotiator, laid  a wreath at the grave of Imad Mughniyah. The United States condemned his decision to honor a terrorist who had spent decades killing Americans and others.
Soleimani made his comments in the wake of renewed tensions on the Israeli-Syrian border. On Saturday, Iran launched its first direct military operation against Israel, dispatching a drone from the Tiyas Airbase in Syria’s central Homs region. The Israelis destroyed the drone, and carried out retaliatory  strikes in Syria after one of its F-16 fighter jets was lost as a result of Syrian anti-aircraft fire.
On Wednesday, United States Ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, described  Iran’s piloting of a drone into Israel a “wake-up call” to the world regarding Iranian efforts to build a permanent military presence in Syria. “Iran and Hezbollah are making plans to stay in Syria,” she said.
[Photo: Tasnim News Agency ]