“I want a chance to be given to those who are willing to be martyred in martyrdom-seeking operation against the aggressors by enrolling them,” al-Askari wrote on his twitter page on Friday after Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, the deputy commander of Iraq’s Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF), or Hashad al-Shaabi, and Commander of IRGC Qods Force Lieutenant General Qassem Soleimani were martyred in the US terrorist attack in Iraq.
“I will be honored to sign up as the first volunteer and if God wants, I will be the first martyr,” he added.
Lieutenant General Soleimani and al-Muhandis were martyred in a targeted assassination attack by the US drones at Baghdad International Airport early on Friday morning.
General Qassem Soleimani has been martyred by the US aircraft after lifetime efforts, the IRGC said in a statement early Friday morning.
The PMF media arm said the two were martyred in an American airstrike that targeted their vehicle on the road to the airport.
Five Iranian and five Iraqi militaries were martyred by missiles fired by the US drone at Baghdad International Airport.
The Pentagon confirmed the attack in a statement.
The attack came amid tensions that started by the US attack on PMF units that killed 28 Iraqi popular forces. A day later, Iraqi people attacked the US embassy in Baghdad. On Wednesday President Donald Trump ordered about 750 US soldiers deployed to the Middle East.
US officials earlier suggested they were to engage in further retaliatory attacks in Iraq.
The developments also represent a major downturn in Iraq-US relations that could further undermine US influence in the region and American troops in Iraq and weaken Washington’s hand in its pressure campaign against Iran.
US President Donald Trump was vacationing on his estate in Palm Beach, Florida, but sent out a tweet of an American flag.
The attack represents a dramatic escalation by the US toward Iran after months of tensions. The tensions take root in Trump’s decision in May 2018 to withdraw the US from Iran’s nuclear deal with world powers, struck under his predecessor.