U.S. President Donald Trump has threatened to launch a military strike against dozens of Iranian targets if Americans are hit in retaliation for the U.S. killing of Quds Force commander Qasem Soleimani.
Trump was responding to comments from Iranian leader Ali Khamenei and other Iranian officials, who have vowed to take “harsh revenge” against the United States, calling Friday’s airstrike near Baghdad International Airport an “act of war.”
“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, and badly wounded many others, not to mention all of the people he had killed over his lifetime, including recently hundreds of Iranian protesters,” Trump said on Twitter.
“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), some at a very high level and important to Iran and the Iranian culture, and those targets, and Iran itself, WILL BE HIT VERY FAST AND VERY HARD. The USA wants no more threats!”
The current crisis began on December 27 when rockets were fired at a military base in northern Iraq, killing 1 U.S. contractor and injuring several others. The U.S. blamed Kata’ib Hezbollah, an Iranian-backed Iraqi militia which is part of PMF, and carried out a series of airstrikes that killed 25 militiamen.
This in turn led to an attack by Kata’ib Hezbollah militiamen and their supporters against the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad on New Year’s Eve. The U.S. blamed Iran and carried out an airstrike near Baghdad Airport on Friday morning, killing Soleimani and PMF deputy chief Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis. Iran has condemned Soleimani’s killing as an “act of war.”