The U.S. killing of a top Iranian general puts the entire region at the beginning of a "completely new phase," said the head of Lebanon's Iran-backed Hezbollah group on Sunday.
Addressing thousands of supports at a rally in southern Beirut, Hassan Nasrallah called the killing of Gen. Qassem Soleimani a "clear, blatant crime" that would transform the Middle East.
Soleimani, the head of Iran's elite Quds force and mastermind of its regional security strategy, was killed in an airstrike early Friday near the Iraqi capital's international airport.
Sunday's comments were Nasrallah's first public statements since Soleimani was killed.
The killing, Nasrallah said, was not just an Iranian matter but one for the Iran-backed "resistance axis."
He then went on to say that the U.S. military in the Middle East would pay the price for the assassination, calling this the just punishment for his killing.
However, Nasrallah said that American civilians in the region "should not be touched", saying this would serve U.S. President Donald Trump's agenda.
The Shiite militant group is Iran's key proxy and most successful military export. Nasrallah, who has been in hiding fearing Israeli assassination since 2006, spoke to supporters through a large screen via satellite link.
Meanwhile, Soleimani's daughter said Sunday that she knows Nasrallah will avenge the father's death.
Speaking in Farsi with Arabic voice-over, Zeinab Soleimani told Lebanon's Al-Manar TV - which is linked with Hezbollah - that the "filthy" U.S. President Donald Trump will not be able to wipe out her father's achievements.
The death of her father will "not break us," she said, and the United States should know that his blood will not go for free.
In the short interview aired Sunday, Zeinab said Trump was not courageous because her father was targeted by missiles from afar and the U.S. president should have "stood face to face in front of him."
First published: 16:12 , 01.05.20