File Photo: Brigadier General Esmail Ghaani, the newly appointed commander of the country's Quds Force, is seen in Tehran, Iran, in this undated picture obtained January 3, 2020 (Reuters)
Esmail Ghaani, commander of the Quds Force of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), described on Tuesday the fire that broke out on the USS Bonhomme Richard naval ship as a result of US behavior and crimes, Tasnim news agency reported.
“What has happened in the US today, particularly the warship incident, is a result of the US government’s actions and crimes,” he said.
According to Tasnim news agency, the top commander advised the Americans not to blame the incident on anyone else and not to accuse others, “since it was a fire set by the Americans themselves.”
“This incident, which was the result of your crimes, was committed by your own elements. God would punish you by your own hands.”
He further warned that “very hard days and severe incidents” lie ahead for the US and the Zionist regime.
The 840-foot (255-meter) amphibious assault ship was undergoing maintenance when the fire was first reported in a lower cargo area where seafaring tanks are parked. It appears to have started where cardboard boxes, rags and other maintenance supplies were being stored.
At least 61 people, including 38 sailors and 23 civilians, have been treated for heat exhaustion, smoke inhalation and minor injuries. None were in the hospital Tuesday.
On Monday, health officials warned people to stay indoors as acrid smoke wafted across San Diego from one of the Navy's worst shipyard fires in recent years.
Ghaani is the replacement for Qassem Soleimani, Iran’s most powerful military commander, who directed its allied militia in conflicts across the Middle East before he was killed by a US missile strike at Baghdad airport.