WASHINGTON — The House passed a measure Thursday aimed at limiting President Donald Trump’s ability to take military action against Iran.
Trump said no Americans were injured Tuesday when Iran launched a series of ballistic missiles at two Iraqi bases housing U.S. troops. Iranian state TV reported the strikes were in revenge for the killing of Revolutionary Guard Gen. Qassem Soleimani, whose death Friday prompted angry calls to avenge his slaying.
Here are the latest updates:
Update 6 p.m. EST Jan. 9: The House has approved a nonbinding measure to ‘terminate’ US military action against Iran without congressional approval.
House votes mainly along party lines to approve War Powers Resolution designed to restrict future military action against Iran pic.twitter.com/FDy0sOaiyl— Jamie Dupree (@jamiedupree) January 9, 2020
Update 2:40 p.m. EST Jan. 9: The House has begun a scheduled two hours of debate on a resolution aimed at limiting President Donald Trump’s ability to take military action against Iran.
House now starting 2 hours of debate on a non-binding resolution from Democrats to block the use of military force against Iran without approval by Congress. pic.twitter.com/dMY0UCqDbt— Jamie Dupree (@jamiedupree) January 9, 2020
Update 12:50 p.m. EST Jan. 9: President Donald Trump told reporters Thursday that he ordered the military strike that last week claimed the life of a top Iranian general because “they were looking to blow up our embassy.”
“We caught a total monster. We took them out. And that should have happened a long time ago,” Trump said. “We did it because they were looking to blow up our embassy.”
When asked to elaborate on the alleged plot, Trump said, “It was obvious.”
REPORTER: You said Iran was trying to blow up the embassy in Baghdad. Can you provide more details?— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) January 9, 2020
TRUMP: "No, I think it was obvious. If you look at the protests, and this was the anti-Benghazi. Benghazi was a disaster." pic.twitter.com/oh0n9OfTMc
Update 11:50 a.m. EST Jan. 9: President Donald Trump spoke about the military strike he ordered last week that killed Iran’s Gen. Qassem Soleimani Thursday morning while announcing proposed National Environmental Policy Act regulations.
“We had a shot at him, and I took it and the shot had pinpoint accuracy,” Trump said.
LIVE: POTUS Announces Proposed NEPA Regulations https://t.co/yAJeJ6YkCG— The White House (@WhiteHouse) January 9, 2020
Update 11 a.m. EST Jan. 9: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is holding her weekly news conference Thursday morning, hours before the House is set to vote on a resolution aimed at limiting President Donald Trump’s ability to take military action against Iran.
Tune in as I speak with reporters at 10:45 am ET as the House prepares to vote on a War Power Resolution limiting President Trump’s military actions regarding Iran.Posted by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Thursday, January 9, 2020
Update 8:30 a.m. EST Jan. 9: President Donald Trump urged Republicans to vote against a war powers resolution aimed at limiting the president’s ability to take military action against Iran.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced the planned vote Wednesday.
“Hope that all House Republicans will vote against Crazy Nancy Pelosi’s War Powers Resolution,” Trump wrote in a tweet Thursday morning. He also criticized the California Democrat for continuing to hold on to articles of impeachment approved in December by the House.
“Just another Democrat fraud,” he wrote. “Presidential Harassment!”
Hope that all House Republicans will vote against Crazy Nancy Pelosi’s War Powers Resolution. Also, remember her “speed & rush” in getting the Impeachment Hoax voted on & done. Well, she never sent the Articles to the Senate. Just another Democrat fraud. Presidential Harassment!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 9, 2020
Update 6:07 a.m. EST Jan. 9: In a letter to the United Nations, Majid Takht Ravanchi, Iran’s U.N. ambassador, said Iran “does not seek escalation or war” but would respond to “military adventurism” and “aggression,” according to The Associated Press.
He added that Iran took “a measured and proportionate military response” when it targeted U.S. bases in Iraq early Wednesday, the AP reported.
Meanwhile, the U.S. House of Representatives planned to vote Thursday on a resolution that would limit President Donald Trump’s military action against Iran.
Update 5:30 p.m. EST Jan. 8: Gen. Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, says he believes Iran’s missile strikes on two Iraqi bases were intended to kill Americans.
He said the fact that no one was killed was due to the defensive procedures and the effectiveness of U.S. early warning system.
Milley and Defense Secretary Mark Esper told The Associated Press that 11 ballistic missiles that landed at al-Asad air base in western Iraq inflicted moderate damage, such as destroying or damaging tents and a helicopter, but no Americans were killed or injured.
Update 4 p.m. EST Jan. 8: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said lawmakers expect to vote Thursday on a War Powers Resolution aimed at limiting President Donald Trump’s military action against Iran.
Congress was not notified by Trump approved of a military strike Friday which killed a top Iranian general and inflamed tension in the Middle East. The strike near Iraq's Baghdad airport claimed the life of Gen. Qassem Soleimani and six others, officials said.
Pelosi said the War Powers Resolution, led by Rep. Elissa Slotkin, D-Mich., will go to the Rules Committee on Wednesday night before appearing on the House floor Thursday for a vote.
Pelosi said other measures were being considered to "keep America safe," including a resolution to repeal the 2002 Iraq Authorization for Use of Military Force and legislation aimed at prohibiting funding for military action against Iran that hasn't been authorized by Congress.
“The Administration must work with the Congress to advance an immediate, effective de-escalatory strategy that prevents further violence,” Pelosi said. “America and the world cannot afford war.”
The House is moving forward with @RepSlotkin's War Powers Resolution limiting the President’s military actions regarding Iran. The Admin must work with the Congress to advance an immediate, effective de-escalatory strategy which prevents further violence. https://t.co/i3KU9bqWqh pic.twitter.com/9bwnjBMjnz— Nancy Pelosi (@SpeakerPelosi) January 8, 2020
Update 2:50 p.m. EST Jan 8: President Donald Trump spoke Wednesday with NATO Secretary General Jen Stoltenberg and urged the alliance to become more involved in the Middle East, according to a read-out of the call released by NATO officials.
“They agreed that NATO could contribute more to regional stability and the fight against international terrorism,” according to the read-out. “They also agreed to stay in close contact on the issue.”
The president said in an address to the nation earlier Wednesday that he planned to ask NATO to become more involved in matters in the Middle East as tensions rose in the wake of a U.S. drone attack that killed a top Iranian general last week.
Gen. Qassem Soleimani, who headed Iran’s Quds Force, died Friday along with six others after being targeted in a U.S. military strike near the Baghdad airport in Iraq.
Update 2:10 p.m. EST Jan. 8: Officials with the United Nations welcomed indications Wednesday that “leaders are walking back from major confrontation,” according to CNN.
Stephane Dujarric, the UN’s spokesman, spoke with reporters Wednesday after President Donald Trump said in an address to the nation that Iran “appears to be standing down” as tensions soar in the Middle East.
“It is our common duty to make every effort to avoid a war in the Gulf that the world cannot afford,” Dujarric said in a statement obtained by CNN. “We must not forget the terrible human suffering caused by war. As always, ordinary people pay the highest price.”
Iran launched military strikes Wednesday against bases housing U.S. soldiers in Iraq. Authorities said no fatalities were reported.
The military strikes were in retaliation for an American drone attack Friday near the Baghdad airport that claimed the life of Gen. Qassem Soleimani, who headed Iran’s elite Quds Force.
On Wednesday, Trump called for NATO to become more involved in issues in the Middle East.
“The civilized world must send a clear and unified message to the Iranian regime: your campaign of terror, murder and mayhem will not be tolerated any longer,” Trump said. “It will not be allowed to go forward. Today I am going to ask NATO to become much more involved in the Middle East process.”
Trump: "Iran must abandon its nuclear ambitions and end its support for terrorism. The time has come for the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Russia and China to recognize this reality. … Today, I am going to ask NATO to become much more involved in the Middle East process" pic.twitter.com/6r8nIPnXqS— CNN Politics (@CNNPolitics) January 8, 2020
Update 12 p.m. EST Jan. 8: In remarks to the nation on Wednesday, President Donald Trump confirmed no Americans or Iraqis were killed in military strikes launched one day earlier by Iran.
“We suffered no casualties,” Trump said. “All of our soldiers are safe and only minimal damage was sustained at our military bases."
Iranian state media reported Tuesday’s military strikes, in which Iran targeted two Iraqi bases housing U.S. troops, were in retaliation for a U.S. airstrike last week that claimed the life Friday of a top Iranian general.
Gen. Qassem Soleimani, who headed Iran’s elite Quds Force, died along with six others in the strike Friday near the Baghdad airport.
Addressing the nation Wednesday, Trump said Soleimani “trained terrorist armies, including Hezbollah, launching terrorist strikes against civilian targets” and "fueled bloody civil wars all over the region."
“In recent days he was planning new attacks on American targets, but we stopped him,” Trump said.
WATCH: President Trump says Iran appears to be standing down after the country launched more than a dozen missiles at U.S.-Iraqi airbases in retaliation for the killing of Soleimani pic.twitter.com/fqcFQ55Jb6— QuickTake by Bloomberg (@QuickTake) January 8, 2020
Update 10:40 a.m. EST Jan. 8: President Donald Trump is expected to address the nation starting around 11 a.m. Wednesday in the wake of Iranian airstrikes which targeted U.S. troops in Iraq.
Update 9:30 a.m. EST Jan. 8: President Donald Trump is expected to speak Wednesday morning amid rising tensions between the U.S. and Iran.
Trump is expected to speak at 11 a.m., according to White House officials.
President @realDonaldTrump will deliver remarks at 11AM ET today.— The White House (@WhiteHouse) January 8, 2020
Update 6:34 a.m. EST Jan. 8: In a tweeted statement, Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi said his office “received an official verbal message” from Iran after midnight Wednesday that it would soon begin retaliating against the U.S. for the death of Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani.
Iran’s message said “that the strike will be limited to the whereabouts of the American army in Iraq without specifying its location,” the tweet read.
Meanwhile, “the American side called us” to say Ain al-Asad and Irbil were being attacked, according to the statement.
The office said it isn’t aware of any Iraqi or U.S. coalition casualties from the attack, The Associated Press reported.
بيان— المكتب الاعلامي لرئيس الوزراء 🇮🇶 (@IraqiPMO) January 8, 2020
بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
بعد منتصف الليل بقليل من يوم الاربعاء الموافق 8/1/2020، تلقينا رسالة شفوية رسمية من قبل الجمهورية الاسلامية في ايران بان الرد الايراني على اغتيال الشهيد قاسم سليماني قد بدأ او سيبدأ بعد قليل...
Update 3:36 a.m. EST Jan. 8: Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, gave a national address Wednesday about the missile strike.
“We slapped (Americans) on the face last night,” he said, according to The Associated Press, adding that “military action is not enough.”
He also said the “corrupt presence of the U.S. in the region should come to end," the AP reported.
BREAKING - LIVE: Iran's Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, is speaking after his country fired ballistic missiles at bases housing US forces in Iraq.— Al Jazeera News (@AJENews) January 8, 2020
Iran has warned of "more crushing responses" if Washington retaliates to the attack. https://t.co/polj7AZZ3r
Update 9:50 p.m. EST Jan. 7: President Donald Trump said “all is well” in a tweet hours after the Iranian missile attack on two bases in Iraq. He indicated he will be making a statement Wednesday morning.
All is well! Missiles launched from Iran at two military bases located in Iraq. Assessment of casualties & damages taking place now. So far, so good! We have the most powerful and well equipped military anywhere in the world, by far! I will be making a statement tomorrow morning.— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 8, 2020
Update 9:47 p.m. EST Jan. 7: A U.S. official told The Associated Press there were very few, if any, casualties from the Iranian missile attack on two Iraqi bases.
The official says the bases are still being searched for casualties.
The official says 15 missiles were fired. Ten struck the Ain al-Asad air base in Iraq’s western Anbar province. One struck a base in Irbil in Iraq’s semiautonomous Kurdish region. Four missiles failed to hit their targets.
The official spoke on condition of anonymity in advance of a Pentagon briefing.
Update 9:30 p.m. EST Jan. 7: The Federal Aviation Administration is barring U.S. pilots and carriers from flying in areas of Iraqi, Iranian and some Persian Gulf airspace.
Such restrictions are often precautionary in nature to prevent civilian aircraft from being confused for ones engaged in armed conflict.
Update 8:30 p.m. EST Jan. 7: Vice President Mike Pence has briefed top Democrats in Congress on the Iranian strikes on installations in Iraq holding U.S. forces.
Aides to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer both confirmed the lawmakers spoke with the vice president by telephone Tuesday.
Update 7:33 p.m. EST Jan. 7: U.S. Defense Secretary Esper and U.S. Secretary of State Pompeo have arrived at the White House.
Defense Secretary Esper just arrived at the White House carrying a large bag. Secretary Pompeo, seen reading in his car before he got out, also arrived.— Kaitlan Collins (@kaitlancollins) January 8, 2020
Update 7:17 p.m. EST Jan. 7: The Pentagon has confirmed that Iran has fired “more than a dozen” ballistic missiles against U.S. military forces at Al-Assad and Irbil, Iraq.
BREAKING: Pentagon says Iran fired "more than a dozen ballistic missiles against U.S. military and coalition forces in Iraq." #Soleimani pic.twitter.com/8MwMdStdQa— Marcus Weisgerber (@MarcusReports) January 8, 2020
Update 6:45 p.m. EST Jan. 7: The White House said it’s aware of the rocket attack and the president has been briefed.
White House @PressSec Stephanie Grisham: "We are aware of the reports of attacks on US facilities in Iraq. The President has been briefed and is monitoring the situation closely and consulting with his national security team."— Matt Wolking (Text TRUMP to 88022) (@MattWolking) January 7, 2020
Update 6:32 p.m. EST Jan. 7: Iran state TV says Tehran launchesd“tens” of surface-to-surface missiles at Iraq’s Ain Assad air base, according to the Associated Press.
Update 6:25 p.m. EST Jan. 7: Reporter Jennifer Griffin tweeted that a source in Iraq has indicated this is a missile attack from Iran. This has not yet been confirmed.
From senior US military source in Iraq:— Jennifer Griffin (@JenGriffinFNC) January 7, 2020
“Under missile attack from Iran. These are either cruise missiles or short range ballistic missiles. All over the country.”
Update 6:05 p.m. EST Jan. 7: Washington Post Beirut Bureau Chief Liz Sly tweeted that the US military confirmed an ongoing rocket attack on Al-Asad airbase.
The US military confirms an ongoing rocket attack on Al-Asad airbase where US troops are based. It’s the one Trump said Iraq would have to pay for if the US leaves.— Liz Sly (@LizSly) January 7, 2020
Update 3:20 p.m. EST Jan. 7: President Donald Trump on Tuesday walked back a vow he made over the weekend to target Iranian cultural sites if the country retaliates against the U.S. for Friday’s deadly drone attack, telling reporters that he will obey international law that bars such attacks.
“They’re allowed to kill our people. They are allowed to maim our people, they’re allowed to blow up everything that we have and there’s nothing that stops them,” Trump said Tuesday. “We are, according to various laws, supposed to be very careful with their cultural heritage. And you know what, if that’s what the law is, I like to obey the law."
President Trump: "I like to obey the law. But think of it; they kill our people. They blow up our people and then we have to be very gentle with their cultural institutions? But I'm okay with it. It's okay with me." pic.twitter.com/vFCthzwpWU— CSPAN (@cspan) January 7, 2020
Trump warned Saturday in a social media post that Iranian cultural sites could be targeted by the U.S. military if Iran attacks any American assets in retaliation for the killing Friday of Gen. Qassem Soleimani.
Officials with the United Nation’s cultural body, UNESCO, said Monday that the U.S. previously signed treaties that bar it from targeting cultural sites. Other officials, including Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Defense Secretary Mark Esper, told reporters Tuesday that the U.S. would follow international law.
Update 2:10 p.m. EST Jan. 7: Defense Secretary Mark Esper is holding a news briefing Tuesday afternoon after a U.S. airstrike last week claimed the life of a top Iranian general.
LIVE: @EsperDoD briefs reporters at the Pentagon. https://t.co/m46689i2wL— Department of Defense 🇺🇸 (@DeptofDefense) January 7, 2020
Update 11:15 a.m. EST Jan. 7: The death toll from a stampede that broke out Tuesday at the funeral for Iran’s Gen. Qassem Soleimani has risen to at least 50, according to multiple reports.
Citing state media, Reuters reported about 213 other people were also injured in the stampede, which happened during a funeral in Soleimani’s hometown, Kerman.
Authorities told The Washington Post most of the victims killed or injured Tuesday were men. As the death toll grew, officials announced the postponement of the rest of Soleimani’s burial ceremony due to overcrowding, according to the Post.
Update 10:55 a.m. EST Jan. 7: Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Tuesday morning that the decision to launch the airstrike that killed Iran’s Gen. Qassem Soleimani was “the right decision.”
Officials have said Friday’s airstrike was necessary due to intelligence reports indicating an imminent threat to American lives, however, critics have questioned the validity of the reports.
“Anytime a president makes a decision of this magnitude, there are multiple pieces of information that come before us,” Pompeo said Tuesday, telling reporters President Donald Trump was given information from the intelligence community and from officials who have teams working in the field.
“We could see clearly that not only had Soleimani done all the things that we have recounted ... a massacre in Syria, enormous destruction of countries like Lebanon and Iraq where they’ve denied them sovereignty ... This is all Soleimani’s handiwork,” Pompeo said.
He said officials were also concerned with “continuing efforts on behalf of this terrorist to build out a network of campaign activities that were going to lead potentially to the death of many more Americans.”
“It was the right decision,” he said. “We got it right.”
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo says President Trump's decision to kill a top Iranian general was the "right decision" https://t.co/CPww6tLImC pic.twitter.com/OJOc2AQsLz— CNN Politics (@CNNPolitics) January 7, 2020
Update 9 a.m. EST Jan. 7: Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is expected to provide an update Tuesday morning on the latest developments between the U.S. and Iran as tensions between the countries continue to escalate.
Update 7:45 a.m. EST Jan. 7: Forty people are dead and 213 hurt Tuesday after a stampede broke out during the funeral procession for Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani, who was killed in a U.S. drone strike, according to the AP. The funeral was later delayed, authorities said.
The incident occurred in Soleimani’s hometown, Kerman, officials said.
Iranian state television says 35 people have been killed and 48 injured in a stampede that erupted at a funeral procession for a general slain in a U.S. airstrike. The stampede erupted in Kerman, the hometown of Gen. Soleimani during the procession there. https://t.co/EZuQ5JoVu8— The Associated Press (@AP) January 7, 2020
Update 5 p.m. EST Jan. 6: Defense Secretary Mark Esper says the United States has made “no decision” about withdrawing troops from Iraq amid heightened tensions with neighboring Iran.
Esper spoke to reporters Monday after a letter from a U.S. Army general circulated that seemed to suggest a withdrawal had been ordered in response to a vote by the Iraqi Parliament over the weekend.
Esper told the Associated Press, “There’s been no decision whatsoever to leave Iraq.”
Update 12 p.m. EST Jan. 6: Officials with the United Nation’s cultural body, UNESCO, said Monday that the U.S. previously signed treaties which bar it from targeting cultural sites despite President Donald Trump’s insistence that the military could target such sites in Iran.
In a news release, officials pointed to conventions from 1954 and 1972 which were ratified by both the U.S. and Iran and which make targeting cultural sites a war crime. The United Nations Security Council also passed unanimously a resolution in 2017 condemning the destruction of heritage sites. Attacks by the Islamic State group and other armed factions in Syria and Iraq prompted that vote.
Trump warned in a social media post Saturday that Iranian cultural sites could be targeted by the U.S. military if Iran attacks any American assets in retaliation for the killing Friday of Gen. Qassem Soleimani.
Iran is talking very boldly about targeting certain USA assets as revenge for our ridding the world of their terrorist leader who had just killed an American, & badly wounded many others, not to mention all of the people he had killed over his lifetime, including recently....— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 4, 2020
....hundreds of Iranian protesters. He was already attacking our Embassy, and preparing for additional hits in other locations. Iran has been nothing but problems for many years. Let this serve as a WARNING that if Iran strikes any Americans, or American assets, we have.....— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 4, 2020
....targeted 52 Iranian sites (representing the 52 American hostages taken by Iran many years ago), some at a very high level & important to Iran & the Iranian culture, and those targets, and Iran itself, WILL BE HIT VERY FAST AND VERY HARD. The USA wants no more threats!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 4, 2020
“Through MILLENNIA of history, barbarians have come and ravaged our cities, razed our monuments and burnt our libraries,” Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammed Javad Zarif tweeted in response Sunday. “Where are they now? We’re still here, & standing tall.”
A reminder to those hallucinating about emulating ISIS war crimes by targeting our cultural heritage:— Javad Zarif (@JZarif) January 5, 2020
Through MILLENNIA of history, barbarians have come and ravaged our cities, razed our monuments and burnt our libraries.
Where are they now?
We’re still here, & standing tall.
Update 9:04 p.m. EST Jan. 5: President Donald Trump insisted Sunday that Iranian cultural sites could be targeted if Iran retaliates following the U.S. strike against Gen. Qassem Soleimani.
“They’re allowed to kill our people. They’re allowed to torture and maim our people. They’re allowed to use roadside bombs and blow up our people. And we’re not allowed to touch their cultural sites? It doesn’t work that way,” Trump said.
Trump first mentioned cultural sites as targets Saturday in a tweet. The move raised concerns within his administration and would be considered a war crime under international law, The Associated Press reported.
Update 1:18 p.m. EST Jan. 5: According to The Associated Press, Iranian state television, the government in Iran said it will no longer abide by the limits of its 2015 nuclear deal.
BREAKING: Iranian state TV reports Iran will no longer abide by any limits of its 2015 nuclear deal. https://t.co/rjg3Jls8it— The Associated Press (@AP) January 5, 2020
Officials in Tehran said in a statement that it would no longer abide by the agreement, The New York Times reported. The government added it would no longer limit its enrichment of uranium, the newspaper reported.
Update 11:39 a.m. EST Jan. 5: A coalition of troops led by the United States in Iraq and Syria announced it was halting attacks against attacking the Islamic State as it girded for retaliation from Iran that killed Gen. Qassem Suleimani in Baghdad on Friday.
The move means training local forces in both countries will be halted, The New York Times reported.
In a statement, the American command said that because of attacks on Iraqi and American bases over the past few weeks, “We have therefore paused these activities, subject to continuous review.”
1. This is a big deal: The US-led Coalition has suspended operations against ISIS in Iraq, as resources are reassigned to protect American facilities and personnel: pic.twitter.com/LLT9XKUyJd— Rukmini Callimachi (@rcallimachi) January 5, 2020
Update 10:20 a.m. EST Jan. 5: Iraq’s Parliament voted 170-0 Sunday to expel U.S. troops from the country, The New York Times reported.
The vote is not final until Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi signs the draft bill, the newspaper reported. Earlier Sunday, Mahdi indicated he would, recommending the action to Parliament after President Donald Trump ordered a fatal drone strike Friday against Gen. Qassem Suleimani in Baghdad.
Update 10:05 a.m. EST Jan. 5: Iraq’s Parliament called for the expulsion of U.S troops from the country.
Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi recommended to Parliament that the government establish a timetable for the exit of foreign troops, including the U.S.-led coalition of troops “for the sake of our national sovereignty,” The Washington Post reported.
“What happened was a political assassination,” Mahdi said of the U.S. strike that killed Gen. Qassem Soleimani, as he traveled in a convoy Friday near the Baghdad airport.
BREAKING; #Iraq parliament votes to expel US military from Iraq.— Farnaz Fassihi (@farnazfassihi) January 5, 2020
PM Abdul Mahdi: “It’s time for American troops to leave.”
Update 6:33 a.m. EST Jan. 5: President Donald Trump took to Twitter again late Saturday to comment on Iran.
“They attacked us, & we hit back,” he tweeted. “If they attack again, which I would strongly advise them not to do, we will hit them harder than they have ever been hit before!”
They attacked us, & we hit back. If they attack again, which I would strongly advise them not to do, we will hit them harder than they have ever been hit before! https://t.co/qI5RfWsSCH— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 5, 2020
Minutes later, he added: “The United States just spent Two Trillion Dollars on Military Equipment. We are the biggest and by far the BEST in the World! If Iran attacks an American Base, or any American, we will be sending some of that brand new beautiful equipment their way...and without hesitation!”
The United States just spent Two Trillion Dollars on Military Equipment. We are the biggest and by far the BEST in the World! If Iran attacks an American Base, or any American, we will be sending some of that brand new beautiful equipment their way...and without hesitation!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 5, 2020
Update 6:13 p.m. EST Jan. 4: President Donald Trump warned Iran against plans for retaliation claiming that the U.S. has high-value Iranian sites targeted.
“Iran is talking very boldly about targeting certain USA assets as revenge for our ridding the world of their terrorist leader,” Trump tweeted Saturday evening. “Let this serve as a WARNING that if Iran strikes any Americans, or American assets, we have targeted 52 Iranian sites (representing the 52 American hostages taken by Iran many years ago).”
Update 2:52 p.m. EST Jan. 4: Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, vowed “forceful revenge” as his country mourned the death of Gen. Qassem Soleimani.
What kind of revenge Iran will take is unclear.
“Technically, Iran could attack U.S. bases in Syria or in Iraq, but that would drive an even greater retaliation from the United States that I don’t think even Iran would wish to happen,” Lina Khatib, the head of the London-based Middle East and North Africa Program at Chatham House, The New York Times reported. “I may be in the minority here, but I think with this new development, despite Iran’s outlandish statements, ultimately Iran has been pushed into a corner."
Update 1:44 p.m. EST Jan 4: NATO suspended training of Iraqi security and armed forces Saturday after a U.S. airstrike in Baghdad killed Gen. Qassem Soleimani, The New York Times reported. The move was made to ensure the safety of several hundred mission members, the newspaper reported.
“The safety of our personnel in Iraq is paramount,” acting NATO spokesman Dylan White said in a statement. “We continue to take all precautions necessary. NATO’s mission is continuing, but training activities are temporarily suspended.”
Update 7:45 a.m. EST Jan. 4: The Washington Post described the scene as throngs of mourners followed Gen. Qassem Soleimani’s funeral procession through the streets of Baghdad early Saturday morning.
Soleimani, Iran’s top general, died in a U.S. airstrike on Thursday.
Officials from both Iran and Iraq, as well as militia leaders, participated in the procession, and chants of “Death to America, death to Israel” and “We will take our revenge” echoed through the streets, the Post reported.
According to The Associated Press, the majority of mourners were men in black military fatigues carrying Iraqi flags and the flags of Iran-backed militias loyal to Soleimani. Chants of “America is the Great Satan” could also be heard.
An official with the U.S.-led coalition in Iraq told the AP it has boosted “security and defense measures” at bases housing coalition forces there.
Meanwhile, another 3,000 troops have been sent to neighboring Kuwait, the AP reported.
Update 3:00 a.m. EST Jan. 4: Thousands of mourners gathered Saturday for a funeral procession through Baghdad for Iran’s top general killed in a U.S. airstrike, The Associated Press reported.
Many of the mourners were dressed in black and carried Iraqi flags and the flags of Iran-backed militias that are fiercely loyal to Gen. Qassem Soleimani, the head of Iran’s elite Quds force and mastermind of its regional security strategy.
Update 10:30 p.m. EST Jan. 3: Iran’s U.N. ambassador Majid Takht Ravanchi is urging the U.N. Security Council to condemn what Tehran calls “a criminal act” of “state terrorism” by the United States that led to “the horrific assassination” of the country’s top military commander.
Iran has promised to seek revenge for a U.S. airstrike near Baghdad’s airport that killed the mastermind of its interventions across the Middle East, and the U.S. said Friday that it was sending thousands more troops to the region as tensions soared in the wake of the targeted killing.
Update 7 p.m. EST Jan. 3: Another airstrike almost exactly 24 hours after the one that targeted Soleimani killed five members of an Iran-backed militia north of Baghdad, an Iraqi security official told The Associated Press, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to talk to reporters.
The Iran-backed Popular Mobilization Forces confirmed the strike, saying it hit one of its medical convoys near the stadium in Taji, north of Baghdad. The group said none of its top leaders were killed. A U.S. official said the attack was not an American military attack. The official spoke on condition of anonymity.
Original Report: For more than two decades, Gen. Qassem Soleimani directed Iran’s proxy forces who were responsible for killing hundreds of American troops in Iraq and who have backed President Bashar al-Assad in the civil war in Syria.
The attack comes days after an American contractor was killed near Kirkuk, Iraq, and four U.S. military members were injured. Following the attack that killed the American contractor, a strike by U.S. forces killed 25 Kataeb Hezbollah militia – believed to be responsible for the attack on the contractor and U.S. troops.
The U.S. Embassy in Baghdad was attacked by the militia on Tuesday.
Here’s what we know so far about the attack that killed Soleimani:
- Soleimani was in Baghdad after a wave of anti-Iran demonstrations in Iraq, The New York Times reported. Soleimani and had flown in “to urge local militia forces to more forcibly curb the protests.”
- The strike killed five people, included militia chief Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, and public relations chief for the Popular Mobilization Forces in Iraq, Mohammed Ridha Jabri.
- “General Soleimani was actively developing plans to attack American diplomats and service members in Iraq and throughout the region,” the Pentagon said in a statement. “General Soleimani and his Quds Force were responsible for the deaths of hundreds of American and coalition service members and the wounding of thousands more.”
- On Thursday, hours before the attack, Defense Secretary Mark Esper warned the United States military would preemptively strike Iranian-backed forces in Iraq and Syria if it was discovered that paramilitary groups were planning more attacks against Americans.
- After the attack, President Donald Trump posted a tweet of the American flag.
- Iran has vowed to retaliate against the United States for Soleimani’s death. The U.S. embassy in Iraq has called on all U.S. citizens to leave the country immediately.
- Ali Khamenei, Iran’s supreme leader, said in a statement published by Iranian state media that the “cruelest people on earth” assassinated the “honorable” commander who “courageously fought for years against the evils and bandits of the world.”
- Brig. Gen. Amir Hatami, Iran’s defense minister, said Soleimani’s death would be met with a “crushing” response.
- Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif called the strike an “act of international terrorism” and said the U.S. “bears responsibility for all consequences of its rogue adventurism.”
- Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has spoken with government officials from several countries, he tweeted. The countries include China, the United Kingdom and Germany.
- U.S. citizens who work for foreign oil companies in Iraq are preparing to leave the country.
- Soleimani once described himself to a senior Iraqi intelligence official as the “sole authority for Iranian actions in Iraq,” The New York Times reported.
- Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-California, issued this statement about the attack:
“American leaders’ highest priority is to protect American lives and interests. But we cannot put the lives of American service members, diplomats and others further at risk by engaging in provocative and disproportionate actions.
"Tonight’s airstrike risks provoking further dangerous escalation of violence. America — and the world — cannot afford to have tensions escalate to the point of no return.
“The Administration has conducted tonight’s strikes in Iraq targeting high-level Iranian military officials and killing Iranian Quds Force Commander Qasem Soleimani without an Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) against Iran. Further, this action was taken without the consultation of the Congress.
“The full Congress must be immediately briefed on this serious situation and on the next steps under consideration by the Administration, including the significant escalation of the deployment of additional troops to the region.”
- Iraqi politicians have condemned the strike, saying it violated its sovereignty and the agreement allowing U.S. forces to be in Iraq.
- Brig. Gen. Esmail Ghaani will replace Soleimani as commander of the Quds, according to Ali Khamenei.
- The head of Russia’s foreign affairs committee in parliament, Konstantin Kosachev, called the U.S. airstrike "a mistake."
- Agnes Callamard, United Nations Special Rapporteur on extra-judicial executions, said Soleimani’s killing was illegal. “Lawful justifications for such killings are very narrowly defined,” she said.
- John Bolton, Trump’s former national security adviser, tweeted his “congratulations to all involved in eliminating” Suleimani. Bolton said that he hoped “this is the first step to regime change in Tehran.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Congratulations to all involved in eliminating Qassem Soleimani. Long in the making, this was a decisive blow against Iran's malign Quds Force activities worldwide. Hope this is the first step to regime change in Tehran.— John Bolton (@AmbJohnBolton) January 3, 2020
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