Replacement named for Gen. Qassem Soleimani, report says

Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on Friday announced a replacement for the slain Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani who was killed in a U.S. airstrike ordered by President Trump near the Baghdad International Airport in Iraq just hours earlier.

IRAN VOWS 'HARSH RETALIATION' AFTER US AIRSTRIKE KILLS IRANIAN GEN. QASSEM SOLEIMANI

Brigadier General Esmail Qaani, who served as Soleimani’s deputy commander since 1997, will take over the helm as head of the country’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps' elite Quds Force, Reuters reported, citing Iranian state media.

Brigadier General Esmail Qaani, the newly appointed commander of the country's Quds Force, is seen in Tehran, Iran, in this undated picture obtained January 3, 2020.

Brigadier General Esmail Qaani, the newly appointed commander of the country's Quds Force, is seen in Tehran, Iran, in this undated picture obtained January 3, 2020. (Tasnim News Agency/Handout via REUTERS)

Khamenei said in a statement that the program tasked with carrying on Iran’s influence via proxies across the Middle East “will be unchanged from the time of his predecessor.”

Iranian state media reported that Qaani previously warned Trump in 2017 that “threats against Iran will damage America.

"We are not a war-mongering country. But any military action against Iran will be regretted," he reportedly said, according to Newsweek. “We have buried many ... like Trump and know how to fight against America.”

TRUMP ORDERS ATTACK THAT KILLS IRANIAN GEN. QASSEM SOLEIMANI, OTHER MILITARY OFFICIALS IN BAGHDAD, PENTAGON SAYS

Revolutionary Guard Gen. Qassem Soleimani, center, attends a meeting in Tehran, Iran. Iraqi TV and three Iraqi officials said Friday that Soleimani, the head of Iran’s elite Quds Force, has been killed in an airstrike at Baghdad’s international airport.

Revolutionary Guard Gen. Qassem Soleimani, center, attends a meeting in Tehran, Iran. Iraqi TV and three Iraqi officials said Friday that Soleimani, the head of Iran’s elite Quds Force, has been killed in an airstrike at Baghdad’s international airport. (Office of the Iranian Supreme Leader via AP, File)

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The Pentagon confirmed Thursday evening that Trump had ordered the attack that killed Soleimani and other military officials at Baghdad International Airport in Iraq. Iran’s top “shadow commander” was responsible for the deaths of hundreds of American and coalition service members and the wounding of thousands more, the State Department said.