Washington, April 2, 2020-
US President Donald Trump has warned Iran against a “sneak attack” on American forces and assets in Iraq, threatening a “very heavy price” as a consequence.
“Upon information and belief, Iran or its proxies are planning a sneak attack on US troops and/or assets in Iraq. If this happens, Iran will pay a very heavy price, indeed,” Trump said in a tweet on Wednesday, without providing detailed information.
Trump tweeted immediately after his intelligence briefing on Wednesday, Xinhua news agency reported.
The President’s remarks comes after US media reports, citing intelligence, said that Iran or Tehran-backed forces were plotting attacks against American forces in Iraq.
“We’ve been seeing something brewing and developing pretty seriously,” Xinhua quoted a US official as saying to The Wall Street Journal on Wednesday.
Trump’s warning also came days after a New York Times article revealed that the Pentagon had ordered military commanders to plan for an escalated military campaign against Iranian-backed militia groups in Iraq.
The US military and Iran-backed militia fell into direct conflict last month.
On March 11, a rocket attack on Camp Taji killed two US soldiers and one British service member, and wounded 14 others.
The next day, the US military retaliated and destroyed facilities of Kata’ib Hezbollah’s (KH), a Shia militia group.
Camp Taji was under a similar rocket attack on March 14, and three US service members were injured.
The US government last week designated 20 individuals and companies based in Iran and Iraq, accusing them of supporting Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps-Quds Force and other Iranian-backed militias.
Commander of US Central Command Kenneth McKenzie previously said that the threat to America in the Middle East remains very high and that the tensions have not gone down.
The US has enhanced its defence posture in the region. Two U. aircraft carrier strike groups currently were cruising in the area, namely the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower and the USS Harry S. Truman.
Washington said that the KH was responsible for numerous attacks against the US and the US-led coalition forces in Iraq, including a rocket attack on an Iraqi base near Kirkuk (the K1 base) in December 2019 that had killed an American civilian contractor and injured four service members.
The rocket attack on the K1 base led to the US drone attack on January 3 in baghdad that killed Quds Force chief Qasem Soleimani. (Agency)