US General Sees ‘Heightened Risk’ From Iran as One Year Anniversary of Soleimani Killing Approaches

Middle East

Quds Force Commander Qasem Soleimani was killed in Baghdad, Iraq on 3 January 2020 in a US drone strike while on a clandestine goodwill trip to try to ease tensions between Iran and Saudi Arabia. Tehran responded by bombing a pair of US bases in Iraq, injuring over 100 soldiers, and has gone on to threaten more attacks.

US troops and diplomatic staff in Iraq face a “heightened risk” of attack from Iran or ‘Iranian-backed’ groups as the one year anniversary of Qasem Soleimani’s death approaches, Gen. Kenneth ‘Frank’ McKenzie, commander of USCENTCOM, the command responsible for the Middle East, has said.

McKenzie said he believed Iran was also not seeking to escalate things, and “doesn’t want a war with the United States right now. And I know for a fact that the United States doesn’t seek war with Iran.”

The commander’s comments come just days after separate remarks earlier in which he warned that the US would be “prepared to react” if Iran launched an attack on the anniversary.

On Monday, the US Navy confirmed that the USS Georgia nuclear attack submarine, equipped with 154 Tomahawk cruise missiles, had passed through the Strait of Hormuz and entered the Persian Gulf. Israeli media then reported that an Israeli Navy submarine had visibly crossed the Suez Canal in what was dubbed a ‘show of force’ aimed at Iran.

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