Three Rockets Hit Near US Embassy in Baghdad: Security Sources
A woman attending a candlelight vigil to remember the victims of the Ukraine plane crash, talks to a policeman and asks for his sympathy.
A woman attending a candlelight vigil to remember the victims of the Ukraine plane crash, talks to a policeman and asks for his sympathy.(Photo: PTI)
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Three Rockets Hit Near US Embassy in Baghdad: Security Sources

Three rockets hit near the US embassy on Tuesday, 21 January, in the Iraqi capital's high-security Green Zone, security sources told AFP, with no immediate reports of casualties.

While Iran appeared to be "standing down" from a military response, according to US President Donald Trump, the cyber threat remains real, said analysts.

At least 11 American troops were injured in an Iranian attack on an Iraqi base where American soldiers were deployed, US Central Command said Thursday, 16 January although the US military had previously maintained there were no casualties.

The strike caused significant material damage but no casualties, according to previous reports from the US military.

Snapshotclose

  • An Iraqi government spokesman denied reports on Thursday, 16 January, that joint operations had resumed between local forces and the US-led coalition fighting Islamic State group sleeper cells.
  • Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi on Sunday embarked on a visit to Iran and Saudi Arabia amidst regional tension
  • DGCA asked Indian airlines to remain vigilant and take all precautions in airspace over Iran, Iraq, Gulf of Oman and waters of Persian Gulf
  • “We do not seek escalation or war, but will defend ourselves against any aggression,” Iran Foreign Minister Javad Zarif tweeted on Wednesday
  • Iran’s Parliament has passed a bill, designating all US forces “terrorists”
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Three Rockets Hit Near US Embassy in Baghdad: Security Sources

Three rockets hit near the US embassy in the Iraqi capital's high-security Green Zone, security sources told AFP, with no immediate reports of casualties.

Sirens could be heard across the zone immediately after the rockets made impact.

The US has blamed Iran-backed paramilitary groups for a spate of similar attacks in recent months on the Green Zone, but there has never been a claim of responsibility.(

‘Make Iran Great Again’: US President Trump to Iranian Leaders

US President Donald Trump told Iranian leaders, “Make Iran great again,” ANI reported.

He further warned Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, to be "very careful with his words."

"The so-called 'Supreme Leader' of Iran, who has not been so Supreme lately, had some nasty things to say about the United States and Europe," Trump tweeted of Khamenei's comments earlier Friday, 17 January, in Tehran.

According to Trump, Khamenei's blistering speech, in which he attacked the "vicious" United States and described Britain, France and Germany as "America's lackey's," was a mistake.

Pompeo Meets Qureshi; Discusses Iran, Afghanistan and Bilateral Issues

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Friday, 17 January, met visiting Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi and discussed bilateral issues, the situation in Iran and Afghanistan.

State Department Spokesperson Morgan Ortagus said Pompeo and Qureshi spoke about the importance of US-Pakistan cooperation for the Afghan peace process.

"Iran's malign activities in the region" and bilateral economic ties were also discussed, he said.

Iran’s Top Leader to Lead Friday Prayers at Time of Crisis

Iran’s supreme leader will deliver a Friday sermon in Tehran for the first time since 2012, as the Islamic Republic grapples with the fallout from the targeted killing of its top general in a U.S. airstrike and popular anger at its accidental shootdown of a passenger plane, reports Associated Press.

KEY EVENT

'Cyber Threat Remains Real': Trump on Iran

Iran is widely expected to ramp up cyberattacks against the United States in response to the US killing of a top Iranian leader this month even as fears have receded about a military confrontation between the two countries, reports AFP.

According to US President Donald Trump, the cyber threat remains real, said analysts.

KEY EVENT

11 US Troops Wounded in Last Week’s Iran Attack on Iraq Base

At least 11 American troops were injured in an Iranian attack on an Iraqi base where American soldiers were deployed, US Central Command said Thursday, 16 January.

"While no US service members were killed in the Jan. 8 Iranian attack on al-Asad Air base, several were treated for concussion symptoms from the blast and are still being assessed," US Central Command spokesman Captain Bill Urban said in a statement.

Iraq Denies Resuming Joint Ops With US-Led Coalition

An Iraqi government spokesman denied reports on Thursday, 16 January, that joint operations had resumed between local forces and the US-led coalition fighting Islamic State group sleeper cells.

The coalition, active in Iraq since 2014, said on 5 January that it was pausing anti-IS operations and training missions due to security concerns after a series of rocket attacks on bases where US and other international troops are located.

The New York Times, citing two American military officials, reported on Thursday that the US - which makes up the bulk of the coalition - had resumed the operations.

World 'Will Not Rest' Until Answers on Downed Iran Jet: Canada

Canada's foreign minister on Thursday, 16 January, vowed to push Iran for answers about the mistaken downing of a passenger plane amid high tensions after the US killed one of Tehran's top commanders.

The plane was hit and all 176 people on board were killed just hours after Iran fired strikes against US troops stationed in Iraq in retaliation for a drone attack that killed its most prominent general, Qasem Soleimani.

"In the wake of such a horrific tragedy there are many questions," Francois-Philippe Champagne said at a meeting in London.

Canada Seeking Official Status in Iran Plane Downing Probe

Canada's transport minister said on Wednesday, 15 January, that his country is demanding official status in Iran's investigation of the crash of a Ukraine International Airlines jet in Tehran last week, AP reported.

Iran admits its air-defence forces shot the plane down, having not identified it as a commercial airliner.

All 176 people aboard were killed, including 138 people who were headed for Canada and 57 Canadians.

Transport Minister Marc Garneau said two Canadian investigators are in Iran as part of an international team and have been getting good co-operation, but he wants their participation in the probe formalised.

Rockets Target Iraq Airbase Hosting US Forces

Katyusha rockets targeted an Iraqi airbase north of Baghdad hosting US-led coalition forces, the Iraqi military said on Tuesday, 14 January, in the latest attack on installations where American troops are deployed, AFP reported.

The statement from Iraq's military did not say how many rockets had hit Camp Taji but reported that there were no casualties.

Arrests Made Over Downing of Ukrainian Plane: Iran's Judiciary

Iran's judiciary on Tuesday said arrests have been made over the shootdown of a Ukrainian plane that killed all 176 people on board.

"Extensive investigations have taken place and some individuals are arrested," the judiciary spokesman, Gholamhossein Esmaili, said on Tuesday.

He was quoted by Iranian state media, but did not say how many individuals have been detained or name them.

'We Killed Soleimani, He Killed a Lot of Americans': Trump

US President Donald Trump on Monday, 13 January, said, “We killed Soleimani, number one terrorist in the world by every account. That person killed a lot of Americans and lot of people, we killed him. When the Democrats try and defend him, it's a disgrace to our country,” ANI reported.

Meanwhile, according to Reuters, US Attorney General William Barr said that Trump had the authority to kill Qassem Soleimani, and also mentioned that the White House “consulted with his department before the strike on the Iranian commander.”

Pompeo Says Iraqi Leaders Privately Want US Troops

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo alleged on Monday, 13 January, that Iraqi leaders have told him privately they support the US troop presence, despite public appeals for them to leave, AFP reported.

The Iraqi parliament last week voted to rescind the invitation to foreign troops after a US strike at the Baghdad airport killed a top general from Iran, which also has wide influence in the country.

But Pompeo -- whose State Department often insists it cannot divulge details of his calls -- said he heard a different message in conversations with around 50 Iraqi leaders since the start of the month.

"They won't say so publicly. But privately they all welcome the fact that America is still there executing its counter terror campaign," Pompeo said in response to a question at a forum at Stanford University.

US Troops in Iraq Got Warning Hours Before Iranian Attack

American troops were informed of an impending missile barrage hours before their air base in Iraq was struck by Iran, US military officials said on Monday, 13 January, days after the attack that marked a major escalation between the longtime foes, AP reported.

At 11 pm on 7 January, US Lt. Col. Antoinette Chase gave the order for American troops at Ain al-Asad air base in western Iraq, to go on lockdown. Military movements froze as her team, responsible for emergency response at the base, sent out alerts about the threat. At 11:30 pm, she gave the order to take cover in bunkers.

The first strike landed sometime after 1:35 am on 8 January and the barrage continued for nearly two hours. Half way through the attack, Chase learned the missiles were being launched from Iran.

UK Summons Iran Ambassador Over Diplomat’s Arrest

Britain has summoned the Iranian ambassador to the country to convey its strong objections to the brief arrest of London's envoy to Tehran on Saturday, a spokesman for Prime Minister Boris Johnson said, reports Al Jazeera.

"This was an unacceptable breach of the Vienna Convention and it needs to be investigated," the spokesman said. "We are seeking full assurances from the Iranian government that this will never happen again.”

Iran Denies ‘Cover-Up’ Over Downed Ukrainian Jetliner

Iran's government on Monday, 13 January, denied a “cover-up” after it took days for the armed forces to admit a Ukrainian airliner was shot down by mistake last week, AFP reported.

The comments came after a second night of demonstrations in capital Tehran against the authorities over the air disaster.

Iran Police Firing Live Rounds at Protesters, Videos Show

Iranian security forces fired both live ammunition and tear gas shells to disperse demonstrators protesting against the shooting-down of a Ukrainian jetliner, videos on social media purported to show on Monday, 13 January, The Associated Press reported.

Videos sent to the New York-based Center for Human Rights in Iran and verified by AP show a crowd of demonstrators near Azadi Square fleeing as a tear gas canister landed among them.

Another video, also verified by AP, shows a woman being carried away in the aftermath as a blood trail can be seen on the ground. Those around her cry out that she has been shot by live ammunition in the leg.

US Condemns Latest Missile Attack on Iraqi Base: Mike Pompeo

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Sunday, 12 January, that he was "outraged" by another missile attack on an Iraqi airbase where US forces have been stationed, as neighbouring Iran signalled a wish to de-escalate regional tensions.

"Outraged by reports of another rocket attack on an Iraqi airbase," Pompeo tweeted. "These continued violations of Iraq's sovereignty by groups not loyal to the Iraqi government must end."

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for Sunday's rocket attacks. The US has previously blamed such attacks on Iran-backed groups in Iraq.

Iran Agrees De-Escalation 'Only Solution' to Solve Crisis With US

Iran signalled on Sunday, 12 January, that it favours a de-escalation after 10 days of heightened tensions with the United States during which both sides fired missiles and Tehran accidentally shot down a passenger aircraft.

Security was stepped up in Iran's capital after a vigil the previous night for those killed in the air disaster turned into an angry protest and police temporarily arrested the British ambassador for being there.

US President Donald Trump warned Iran against harming demonstrators and against a repeat of a deadly crackdown against rallies in November sparked by a fuel price hike.

"To the leaders of Iran - DO NOT KILL YOUR PROTESTERS," Trump tweeted in his occasional all-capitals style.

Return to 'Full Respect' of Nuclear Accord: Paris, London, Berlin to Iran

Paris, London, Berlin have called on Iran to return to 'full respect' of nuclear accord, according to a statement, AFP reported.

Iran Guards Say Missiles Did Not Aim to Kill US Troops

Iran's Revolutionary Guards said on Sunday, 12 January, that it did not aim to kill US troops when it fired a wave of missiles last week at Iraqi bases hosting American forces.

"Our aim was not really to kill enemy soldiers. That was not important," the Guards' commander, Hossein Salami, told parliament, referring to last Wednesday's missile operation launched to avenge the killing of a top Iranian general.

Iraqi Airbase Hosting US Troops Hit By Rockets

A volley of rockets slammed into an Iraqi airbase north of Baghdad where US forces have been based, wounding four local troops, the Iraqi military said on Sunday, 12 January.

Its statement said eight Katyusha-type rockets landed on Al-Balad airbase, wounding two Iraqi officers and two airmen.

Al-Balad is the main airbase for Iraq's F-16s, which it bought from the US to upgrade its air capacities.

The base had held a small US Air Force contingent as well as American contractors, but a majority had been evacuated following tensions between the US and Iran over the past two weeks, military sources told AFP.

EU Urges 'De-Escalation' After Iran Detains UK Envoy

The EU's diplomatic chief criticised Iran on Sunday, 12 January for briefly detaining the British ambassador to Tehran, calling for "de-escalation".

Iranian authorities held ambassador Rob Macaire at a student protest to pay tribute to those killed when a Ukrainian airliner was shot down outside Tehran, killing 176 people including Britons.

The move triggered diplomatic protests from around the world, with London calling it a violation of international law and EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell added his voice to the chorus of condemnation.

Macaire denied Iranian claims he was taking part in demonstrations, saying he went to an event to pay his respects to those killed in the crash and left after five minutes when chanting started.

Protests Erupt Over Shot-Down Ukrainian Jet, Trump Expresses Support

US President Donald Trump has said that the United States was monitoring Iranian demonstrations closely, warning against any new "massacre" as protests broke out after Tehran admitted to shooting down a passenger plane.

Trump told Iranians – in tweets in both English and Farsi – that he stands by them and is monitoring the demonstrations.

"To the brave, long-suffering people of Iran: I've stood with you since the beginning of my Presidency, and my Administration will continue to stand with you," he tweeted.

"There can not be another massacre of peaceful protesters, nor an internet shutdown. The world is watching," he added.

UK's Ambassador to Iran Arrested, Violation of International Law: British Govt

Iranian authorities briefly detained Britain's ambassador in Tehran on Saturday, according to UK’s Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab, after he was reportedly arrested during protests against the regime, AFP reported.

The arrest of our ambassador in Tehran without grounds or explanation is a flagrant violation of international law," Raab said in a statement after the detention of Rob Macaire.

Macaire was arrested for allegedly "inciting" protesters in Tehran angry at the military's accidental downing of the Ukranian passenger jet, according to the Daily Mail. He was released after around an hour.

Iran Says It ‘Unintentionally’ Shot Down Ukrainian Jetliner

Iran, on Saturday, 11 January, confirmed that its military “unintentionally” shot down the Ukrainian jetliner that crashed earlier this week, killing all 176 aboard, Associated Press reported.

Read the full story here.

Iranian Authorities to Announce Cause of Ukrainian Airliner Crash

The Iranian authorities will announce cause of Ukrainian airliner crash on Saturday, 11 January, news agency ANI reported.

US Tried to Take Out Another Iranian Leader, But Failed

The US military tried, but failed, to take out another senior Iranian commander Abdul Reza Shahlai on the same day that an American airstrike killed the Revolutionary Guard’s top general Qassem Soleimani, US officials said Friday, The Associated Press reported.

Trump Says Soleimani was Targeting ‘Four US Embassies’

US President Donald Trump, on Friday, 10 January, said that he believes Soleimani was targeting 'four embassies,’ news agency AFP reported.

Ukraine Gets Access to Crashed Plane's Black Boxes: Minister

Ukrainian experts have gained access to the black box flight recorders of the Ukrainian plane that crashed in Iran, Foreign Minister Vadym Prystaiko said on Friday, 10 January, reports AFP.

Kiev sent around 50 experts to Iran to participate in the probe after Ukraine International Airlines Boeing 737 went down near Tehran on Wednesday, killing all 176 people on board.

"Our team has now got access to the black boxes," Prystaiko told a briefing.

New Sanctions on Iran's Steel Passed

Steven Mnuchin, United States Secretary of the Treasury said on Friday, 10 January, that new sanctions have been passed targeting Iran steel industries, reports AFP.

US Has Given Ukraine 'Important Data' on Iran Plane Crash: Ukraine Foreign Minister

According to Ukrainian Foreign Minister, the US has provided the country with vital intelligence regarding the airplane crash carrying 176 passengers over Tehran on Wednesday, 8 January, reports AFP.

Iran Civil Aviation Boss 'Certain' Ukraine Plane Not Hit by Missile

Iran's civil aviation chief Ali Abedzadeh said Friday he was "certain" a Ukrainian airliner which crashed outside Tehran this week was not hit by a missile, reports AFP.

"One thing is for certain, this airplane was not hit by a missile," Abedzadeh told a news conference in Tehran after Britain and Canada both said intelligence sources suggested a catastrophic error by Iranian air defence batteries had downed the aircraft.

US Refuses Discussing Troop Withdrawal With Iraq After PM Request

Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi requested the US secretary of state to send a delegation to Iraq tasked with formulating the mechanism for the withdrawal of US troops from Iraq, according to a statement released Friday, 9 January, reports Associated Press.

The statement, from the office of the Iraqi caretaker prime minister, said the request came in a telephone call between Abdul-Mahdi and US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Thursday night. It says Pompeo called the Iraqi premier.

EU Foreign Ministers Gather in Brussels to Salvage Iran Deal

European foreign affairs ministers and the NATO secretary general are gathering in Brussels for an emergency meeting during which they are expected to reiterate their support for the nuclear deal brokered with Iran, reports Associated Press.

Despite calls from US president Donald Trump to break away from the deal, which is aimed at preventing Iran from getting atomic weapons, the European Union remains committed to the treaty amid an escalation of tensions in the region.

Iran Denies Missile Hit Plane, Calls on West to Share Data

Iran on Friday, 10 January, denied Western allegations a Ukrainian jetliner that crashed outside Tehran was brought down by an Iranian missile and called on the US and Canada to share any information they have on the crash, which killed all 176 people on board, reports Associated Press.

Western leaders said the plane appeared to have been unintentionally hit by a surface-to-air missile near Tehran, just hours after Iran launched a series of ballistic missiles at two U.S. bases in Iraq to avenge the killing of its top general in an American airstrike last week.

US House of Representatives Approves Resolution to Limit Trump's Actions Against Iran

US House of Representatives has approved war powers resolution to limit US President Donald Trump's ability to pursue military action against Iran, news agency Reuters reported.

Trump Says New Iran Sanctions Already in Effect

President Donald Trump said Thursday the United States had imposed new sanctions on Iran following missile strikes on bases housing US troops in Iraq that resulted in no American or Iraqi deaths.

Iran Says It Had Prepared 'Hundreds of Missiles'

The brigadier general who leads Iran's aerospace program says its forces launched 13 missiles at bases in Iraq used by US troops early Wednesday "but we were ready to launch hundreds," reports Associated Press.

Gen Amir Ali Hajizadeh also told Iranian state television his forces simultaneously carried out a cyberattack on a US military monitoring service in Iraq.

He asserted that dozens of US forces were killed and wounded "but we were not after killing anyone in this operation". He said, "We were after hitting the enemy's military machine." The US, however, has said no Americans were killed in the missile strike.

Pak PM Imran Khan Directs Qureshi to Visit Iran, Saudi, US to Defuse Tensions in Gulf

Prime Minister Imran Khan has directed Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi to visit Iran, Saudi Arabia and the US as part of Pakistan's efforts to defuse the tensions in the Gulf region following the killing of a top Iranian general in a US drone strike, reports PTI.

Khan has also asked Army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa to contact "relevant military leaders" to convey Pakistan's willingness for peace.

US Strike Kills Taliban Splinter Commander in Herat, Afghanistan

A US airstrike killed a Taliban splinter-group commander and several other fighters in the western Afghan province of Herat, Afghan and military sources said Thursday.

The commander, named as Mullah Nangyalay, was killed in Shindand district, close to the border with Iran, said Herat provincial governor's spokesman Jailani Farhad, reports AFP.

A senior provincial police source said the airstrike had been carried out by a US drone.

Resolute Support, NATO's mission in Afghanistan, told AFP their forces had launched "a defensive air strike in support of Afghan forces", with a spokesman confirming US participation in the operation.

UK PM Urges Iran to End Hostilities

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson urged President of Iran, Hassan Rouhani, to 'end hostilities' in a call on Thursday, 9 January, reports AFP.

Johnson said Britain viewed the 2015 nuclear deal as "the best arrangement currently available to deliver on our goal of stopping Iran from having a nuclear weapon."

After Missile Launch, Iran Says it Respects Iraqi Sovereignty

Iran said on Wednesday that it respects Iraq's territorial integrity, after firing missiles at Iraqi bases housing US troops.

The early Wednesday strike led Iraq to say it would summon the Iranian ambassador.

In a letter to the United Nations Security Council and UN Secretary-General António Guterres, Iran's ambassador to the UN, Majid Takht Ravanchi, said his country has full respect for "the independence, sovereignty, unity and territorial integrity of the Republic of Iraq," reported AFP.

2 Rockets Hit Green Zone in Baghdad, House to US Embassy

Two rockets hit Green Zone in Iraq capital Baghdad, day after Iran attacks Iraqi airbases with US personnel, news agency AFP reports.

US House of Representatives to Vote on Thursday to Prevent Trump From Iran War

Speaker of the House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, on Wednesday 8 January, said that the US House of Representatives will vote Thursday to prevent Trump from Iran war.

NATO Chief Agrees with Trump That Allies Should Do More in Middle East

Chief of the The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) has agreed with Trump that allies should do more in Middle East, news agency AFP reported.

Iraqi Foreign Ministry Will Summon Tehran Envoy Over Strikes

Iraq’s foreign ministry said on Wednesday it rejected Iran’s missile attack on Iraqi military bases housing U.S. troops and would summon Tehran’s ambassador in Baghdad to convey its protest, reports Reuters.

“The foreign ministry rejects these attacks and considers them a violation of Iraqi sovereignty,” it said in a statement. “It stresses that Iraq is an independent state and that its internal security is its priority. We will not allow it to become a battlefield.

'Iran Appears to Be Standing Down' Says President Trump

In his latest White House address, President Donald Trump said that Iran will not be allowed to have a nuclear weapon as long as he is President, reports PTI.

In a direct message to the Iranian leaders and the people, Trump said the United States is "ready to embrace peace with all who seek it".

'No Causalities,' says President Trump

President Donald Trump said on Wednesday that no Americans were harmed in the attack by Iran on US bases in Iraq as he offered to embrace peace along with the Iranian leadership, in a significant move to de-escalate the tensions in the Middle East.

"We suffered no casualties. All of our soldiers are safe and only minimal damage was sustained at our military bases," Trump said in an address to the nation from the White House Grand Foyer.

UN Mission Says Iraq 'Should Not Pay Price for External Rivalries'

The United Nations mission in Iraq said Wednesday the country should not be made to "pay the price" in the escalating conflict between Tehran and Washington, reports AFP.

'We Don't Retreat in Face of America': Iran President

Iran's President Hassan Rouhani said the Islamic republic's response on Wednesday to a US strike that killed one of its generals shows "we don't retreat in the face of America", reports AFP.

"If America has committed a crime... it should know that it will receive a decisive response," Rouhani said in a televised address.

"If they are wise, they won't take any other action at this juncture."

Iraq President 'Denounces' Iran Missile Strikes

Iraq's President Barham Saleh on Wednesday condemned Iran's missile strikes on Iraqi bases where US and other foreign troops are based, saying he feared "dangerous developments" in the region, reports AFP.

"We denounce the Iranian missile bombing that hit military installations on Iraqi territory and renew our rejection of the repeated violation of state sovereignty and the transformation of Iraq into a battlefield for warring sides," his office said in a statement.

Cyprus to Host US Response Unit for Any Mideast Evacuations

Cyprus said Wednesday it has accepted a US request to station a rapid response team on the island in case American diplomatic personnel or civilians need to be evacuated in the region amid rising US-Iranian tensions, reports AFP.

Cyprus "gave its consent for the temporary stationing in Cyprus of a rapid response unit whose task will be to evacuate US diplomatic missions to the region, as well as US citizens, if necessary," said government spokesman Kyriacos Koushos.

He stressed that the request was accepted "for exclusively humanitarian operations".

Russian MP Says Trump Fully "Responsible" for Present State of Affairs With Iran

The Chairman of the State Duma Committee on International Affairs Leonid Slutsky said on Wednesday that that US President Donald Trump is fully accountable for the aftermath of the clash between the US and Iran, reports IRNA.

He said that the situation should stay in political and diplomatic path rather getting out of hand.

Iran Press News Agency Broadcasts Images Allegedly Showing Missiles Being Launched

UK PM Calls on Iran to Pursue 'Urgent De-Escalation'

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson calls on Iran to pursue 'urgent de-escalation', reports AFP.

Addressing the House of Commons, he issued a warning to Iran to refrain from further “reckless and dangerous” attacks as he confirmed that non-essential British personnel had been moved from the region.

Iran Crisis Sparks Fear Over Mid East Oil Supplies

The burgeoning Iran crisis has sparked oil supply worries over the Strait of Hormuz -- a vital shipping lane for a fifth of global crude -- and also over Iraq's output, analysts say, reports AFP.

Oil prices had surged last Friday after US President Donald Trump ordered the drone assassination of Iran's top general Qasem Soleimani, but the market stabilised on Monday and Tuesday with Middle East crude supplies unaffected.

However on Wednesday, the oil market shifted higher once more after Tehran launched revenge attacks to target US forces in Iraq, making good on its pledge to hit back over the killing.

China Urges Restraint After Iran Missile Attacks

China on Wednesday urged restraint from all sides after Iran launched missiles at Iraqi bases housing US and British troops, saying Beijing would play a "responsible role" in helping to defuse tensions Iran fired more than a dozen ballistic missiles overnight at Iraqi bases housing coalition forces, the first act of the Islamic republic's promised revenge for the US killing of top general Qasem Soleimani last week, reports AFP.

Paramilitary Chief Says Time for 'Iraqi Response' to Us Drone Strike

A top commander in Iraq's Hashed al-Shaabi paramilitary network said Wednesday it was time for an "Iraqi response" to a US drone strike that killed the network's deputy chief, reports AFP.

"That response will be no less than the size of the Iranian response. That is a promise," Qais al-Khazali, a hardline Hashed commander, threatened in a tweet.

Netanyahu Warns of 'Resounding Blow' If Iran Attacks Israel Jerusalem

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned on Wednesday that Israel would strike a "resounding blow" if attacked by arch foe Iran, as regional tensions soar after the US killing of a top Iranian general.

"Anyone who attacks us will receive a resounding blow," the premier told a Jerusalem conference.

'Stronger and More Crushing Response" if US Retaliates: Iran Armed Forces

Iranian Armed Forces says if US retaliates, Iran's response "will be stronger and more crushing", reports CNN.

Philippines Orders Evacuation of Filipinos From Iraq

The Philippine government said Wednesday that it has ordered the mandatory evacuation of Filipino workers from Iraq and the coast guard said it is sending a vessel to the Middle East to ferry its citizens to safety in case hostilities between the United States and Iran worsen, reports Associated Press.

US Was Informed of Missile Attacks on Bases

Iraq says Iran informed it of imminent missile attack on US forces, reports AFP.

EU Calls Iran Rocket Attacks 'Escalation', Holding Emergency Talks

The EU's diplomatic chief on Wednesday condemned Iran's rocket attacks on Iraqi bases housing US troops, urging an end to the "spiral of violence" as Europe tries to defuse the growing crisis, reports AFP.

"The latest rocket attacks on air bases in Iraq used by US and coalition forces, among them European forces, are yet another example of escalation and increased confrontation," EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell told reporters.

EU foreign ministers are holding emergency talks on the Iran crisis on Friday to discuss what the bloc can do to reduce tensions, but its options for action are limited.

Air India Flights Flying Over Iran Rerouted

In light of the tensions within the Iranian airspace, Air India has decided to temporarily reroute flights of Air India (AI) and Air India Express (AIX) overflying Iran has been taken, reports ANI.

Dhananjay Kumar, a spokesperson Air India, said “this may lead to increase in flying time by approximately 20 minutes for flights from Delhi and 30 to 40 minutes for flights from Mumbai. The situation is being closely monitored.”

Lufthansa Suspends Flying Through Iran, Iraq Airspace

German airline Lufthansa says that it has suspended flying through Iran and Iraq airspace, according to AFP.

UK Condemns Iran Missile Attacks, Urges Restraint

Britain on Wednesday condemned Iran's missile attacks on Iraqi bases housing coalition military, while confirming there were no British casualties from the strikes.

"We condemn this attack on Iraqi military bases hosting Coalition -- including British -- forces," said Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab.

"We are concerned by reports of casualties and use of ballistic missiles." It was unclear what casualties Raab was referring to.

But a separate Ministry of Defence statement said: "We can confirm that there were no UK casualties." Officials were "urgently working to establish the facts on the ground", it added.

Air France Suspends Flying Through Iran, Iraq Airspace

Air France says that it has suspended flying through Iran and Iraq airspace, according to AFP.

Slap in Face Delivered: Ayatollah Ali Khamenei

"Slap in face delivered," says Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei after Iran launched a missile attack on US and coalition bases in Iraq in retaliation for the killing of the commander of their elite Quds Force.

"Last night, a slap in the face was delivered," Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said in a speech broadcast live on state television.

"One important issue is what is our duty now?" following Soleimani's assassination, said the supreme leader.

"An important incident has happened. The question of revenge is another issue," said Khamenei.

"Military actions in this form are not sufficient for that issue," he said, referring to the assassination. "What is important is that America's corrupt presence must come to an end in this region."

All Australian Troops in Iraq Safe: Australian PM

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison says all of his country's troops and diplomatic staff in Iraq are safe after Iran's firing of missiles at two military bases there.

Around 300 Australian defense personnel are stationed in Iraq.

Morrison said he spoke with President Donald Trump about the situation between the U.S. and Iran on Tuesday during a call about the wildfires raging in Australia.

Sepaking to reporters Wednesday, Morrison said in reference to the killing of Revolutionary Guard Gen. Qassem Soleimani: “The United States have taken the action that they have to address what has been intelligence that they say that they received, which was putting their interests at risks and under threat."

Iran Will Welcome Any Peace Initiative by India: Iranian Envoy to India

Iran will welcome any peace initiative by India for de-escalating its tensions with US, Iranian Envoy to India, Ali Chegeni said on Wednesday.

He added that they were looking for peace and prosperity for everybody in this region, he added.

No Iraqi Casualties in Missile Strikes, Says Iraq Military

A total of 22 missiles struck two bases housing US troops, but there were no Iraqi casualties, the Iraqi military said Wednesday after the overnight attack.

"Between 1:45 am and 2:15 am (2245 GMT and 2315 GMT) Iraq was hit by 22 missiles, 17 on the Ain al-Asad air base and...five on the city of Arbil," the Iraqi military command said in a statement, adding they hit sites being used by the US-led international coalition.

"There were no victims among the Iraqi forces," the military said, referring to the attack carried out by Iran in retaliation for the US killing of a top Iranian general.

Pakistan Asks Citizens to Exercise Maximum Caution While Visiting Iraq

Pakistan on Wednesday issued a travel advisory, asking citizens to be cautious while visiting Iraq due to the prevailing security situation in the Gulf country.

"In view of recent developments and the prevailing security situation in the region, Pakistani nationals are advised to exercise maximum caution while planning visit to Iraq at this point," Pakistan Foreign Office said in a statement.

It said, those already in Iraq to remain in close contact with the Embassy of Pakistan in Baghdad.

‘80 American Terrorists’ Killed in Missile Strikes: Iran State TV

As many as 80 "American terrorists" were killed in Iran missile strikes on US bases in Iraq, the Iranian state television said on Wednesday.

DGCA Asks Indian Airlines to Remain Vigilant

The Directorate General of Civil Aviation has asked Indian airlines to remain vigilant and take all precautions in the airspace over Iran, Iraq, Gulf of Oman and the waters of the Persian Gulf.

'Indian Nationals Advised to Avoid All Non-Essential Travel to Iraq': MEA

Amid tensions between US and Iran, the Ministry of External Affairs has advised Indian nationals "to avoid all non-essential travel to Iraq until further notification."

"Indian nationals residing in Iraq are advised to be alert and may avoid travel within Iraq," the MEA said.

India has also told all Indian carriers to avoid the airspace of Iran, Iraq and the Gulf, ANI quoted government sources as saying.

Iranian Revolutionary Guards Threaten to Attack US, Allies

Iranian Revolutionary Guards on Wednesday threatened to attack the US and its allies after Tehran said it carried out a night-time missile strike against US forces in Iraq.

The group urged Washington to recall its troops from the region "in order to avoid further losses and not to allow the lives of their soldiers to be further threatened by the ever-growing hatred" of the US, reported AFP.

All is Well: Trump Post Missile Attack by Iran

Trump too tweeted about the missiles launched by Iran, saying that things were “so far, so good”.

Proportionate Measures in Self-Defense: Iranian Foreign Minister After Missile Attack on US Bases in Iraq

Hours after Iran launched over a dozen ballistic missiles targeting at least two bases where US military and coalition forces' are stationed in Iraq, Iran’s Foreign Minister took to Twitter to say that Iran had taken measures in “self-defense”, targeting the base “from which the US' "cowardly armed attack” had been launched.

FAA Restricts US Flights Over Iran, Iraq

The Federal Aviation Administration is barring U.S. pilots and carriers from flying in areas of Iraqi, Iranian and some Persian Gulf airspace.

The agency is warning of the “potential for miscalculation or mis-identification" for civilian aircraft amid heightened tensions between the U.S. and Iran. The emergency flight restrictions follow ballistic missile strikes Tuesday on two Iraqi bases that house U.S. troops.

Such restrictions are often precautionary in nature to prevent civilian aircraft from being confused for ones engaged in armed conflict. The FAA says the restrictions are being issued due to “heightened military activities and increased political tensions in the Middle East, which present an inadvertent risk to U.S. civil aviation operations.”

US Totally Prepared for Any Iranian Attack: Trump

The US is prepared for any attack by Iran, President Donald Trump said, amid tensions over the killing of top Iranian General Qasem Soleimani in an American drone attack last week in Iraq.

"We are totally prepared" for any Iranian attack, he told reporters on Tuesday during a joint Oval Office media interaction with visiting Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis.

Trump Briefed About Iran Strike, Monitoring Situation: White House

Trump briefed about attack on US facilities in Iraq, monitoring situation closely, says White House statement.

Iran launched over a dozen ballistic missiles targeting at least two bases where US military and coalition forces' are stationed in Iraq, the Pentagon said on Tuesday.

President Trump has been briefed and is monitoring the situation, officials said. “We are working on initial battle damage assessments,” Pentagon spokesperson Jonathan Hoffman said confirming the Iranian missile strikes.

Hoffman said around 5:30 pm on January 7, "Iran launched more than a dozen ballistic missiles against US.military and coalition forces in Iraq".

"It is clear that these missiles were launched from Iran and targeted at least two Iraqi military bases hosting US military and coalition personnel at Al-Assad and Irbil,” he said.

Iran Threatens to Attack Israel and US Allies: Iranian Revolutionary Guards

The Iranian Revolutionary Guards, whose commander Qassem Soleimani was killed in a strike in Iraq’s Baghdad, have threatened to attack Israel and US allies, news agency AFP reported.

US Totally Prepared for Any Iranian Attack: Trump

The US is prepared for any attack by Iran, President Donald Trump said, amid tensions over the killing of top Iranian General Qasem Soleimani in an American drone attack last week in Iraq, news agency AFP reported.

"We are totally prepared" for any Iranian attack, he told reporters on Tuesday during a joint Oval Office media interaction with visiting Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis.

9 Rockets Hit Iraq Base Housing US Troops

Iran fired "more than a dozen" ballistic missiles Tuesday, 7 January against two airbases in Iraq where US and coalition forces are based, the Pentagon said.

"At approximately 5.30 pm (2230 GMT) on January 7, Iran launched more than a dozen ballistic missiles against US military and coalition forces in Iraq," Assistant to the Secretary of Defense for Public Affairs Jonathan Hoffman said in a statement.

"It is clear that these missiles were launched from Iran and targeted at least two Iraqi military bases hosting US military and coalition personnel at Al-Assad and Irbil."

AFP also reported that oil prices spiked more than 3.5 percent after Iran hits base used by US in Iraq

Politicians Trying for Presidency Only Ones Complaining About Soleimani Killing: Trump

US President Donald Trump, on Tuesday, 7 January spoke on the killed Iran General Qassem Soleimani, said that Soleimani was planning a very big and a bad attack for the US and other people, and he stopped him.

“I don't think anybody can complain about it, I don't hear too many people other than politicians who are trying to win the presidency. Those are the ones who are complaining. But I don't hear anybody else complaining.”

US Should Expect Some Kind of Iran Retaliation: Pentagon

The United States should expect that Iran will retaliate over the US killing of Iranian military commander Qassem Soleimani, Defense Secretary Mark Esper was quoted by Reuters as saying,on Tuesday.

“I think we should expect that they will retaliate in some way, shape or form,” Esper told a news briefing at the Pentagon, adding that such retaliation could be through Iran-backed proxy groups outside of Iran or “by their own hand.”

China Criticises US Over Visa Denial for Iran Foreign Minister

China is criticising the U.S. for reportedly denying a visa to Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif to attend United Nations meetings in New York, reports Associated Press.

Foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said in Beijing on Tuesday that the U.S. has an international obligation to issue visas for such meetings as the host country of the U.N.

Zarif said the U.S. declined to issue him a visa, adding that “this is because they fear someone will go there and tell the truth to the American people.” Tensions have soared over the killing of a top Iranian general in a U.S. airstrike last week.

40 Mourners Dead in Stampede at Soleimani’s Funeral

Iranian state television says 40 people have been killed and 213 injured in a stampede that erupted at a funeral procession for a general slain in a U.S. airstrike, reports AP, quoting Iranian State Television.

According to the report, the stampede took place in Kerman, the hometown of Revolutionary Guard Gen. Qassem Soleimani, as the procession got underway. Initial videos posted online showed people lying lifeless on a road, others shouting and trying to help them.

Iranian state TV gave the casualty toll in its online report, without saying where it obtained the information. Pirhossein Koulivand, the head of Iran’s emergency medical services, earlier spoke by telephone to state TV and confirmed the stampede took plac

Iran Designates US Forces 'Terrorists'

Iran's parliament passed a bill on Tuesday, 7 January designating all US forces "terrorists" over the killing of a top Iranian military commander in a US strike last week, reports AFP.

Pentagon rejects Trump threat to hit Iranian cultural sites

The Pentagon on Monday, 6 January, distanced itself from President Donald Trump's assertions that he would bomb Iranian cultural sites despite international prohibitions on such attacks.

Defense Secretary Mark Esper said the US will “follow the laws of armed conflict.” When asked if that ruled out targeting cultural sites, Esper said pointedly, “That's the laws of armed conflict.”

No Decision on Leaving Iraq: US Quashes Report of Troops Withdrawal

Soon after reports of US pulling troops out of Iraq came in, US Defence Secretary Mark Esper said, on Monday 6 January that there has been no decision whatsoever to leave Iraq.

(ANI)

US Military Tells Iraq It Is Preparing to 'Move Out': Official Letter

The US military informed its counterparts in Baghdad on Monday it was preparing for "movement out of Iraq," a day after the Iraqi parliament urged the government oust foreign troops.

'Never threaten Iran,' Iran President Rouhani Tells Trump

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on Monday, 6 January warned his American counterpart Donald Trump to "never threaten the Iranian nation", after he issued a US strike list of 52 targets in the Islamic republic.

"Those who refer to the number 52 should also remember the number 290. #IR655 Never threaten the Iranian nation," he tweeted, referring to 290 lives lost in July 1988 when a US warship shot down passenger plane Iran Air 655 in the Gulf.

Trump warned Saturday that Washington had lined up 52 targets in Iran if it attacked American personnel or assets in retaliation for a US drone strike in Baghdad that killed Iran's top commander Qasem Soleimani.

NATO Tells Iran to Avoid 'Further Provocations'

Tehran should avoid "further violence and provocations", NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg warned Monday, as tensions mount in the Middle East after US forces killed a top Iranian general.

US Slams Russia, China at UN for Failure to Condemn Embassy Attack

The United States on Monday slammed Russia and China for their failure to condemn an attack last week on its Baghdad embassy by pro-Iranian demonstrators, reports PTI.

While congratulating the 27 of the 193 member nations that did issue statements condemning the December 31 attempt to storm the compound, the US mission to the UN said that Russian and Chinese silence undermined the Security Council.

"Not allowing the United Nations Security Council to issue the most basic of statements underscoring the inviolability of diplomatic and consular premises once again calls the council's credibility into question," the US statement said.

Washington said that voicing support for the 1961 Vienna convention that protects diplomatic missions "should not be controversial or warrant courage." "As we have demonstrated, we will not tolerate attacks on US personnel and facilities and will respond decisively to protect our interests, citizens and allies," it added.

Trump Rules out Us Troop Withdrawal From Iraq, Threatens 'Very Big' Sanctions

President Donald Trump on Monday threatened to impose "very big" sanctions on Iraq after its Parliament called on the US military to leave the country for assassinating top Iranian General Qasem Soleimani in a drone attack in Baghdad, reports PTI.

The Iraqi Parliament on Sunday voted to expel the US troops from its territory which have been there to help the Iraq dispensation fight the Islamic State terror group.

Some 5,000 US soldiers are in Iraq as part of the international coalition against the IS terror group.

Trump's Iraq Sanctions Threat 'Not Very Helpful': Germany

US President Donald Trump's threat to slap sanctions on Iraq should Baghdad expel US troops based there "is not very helpful", German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said Monday, 4 January, reports PTI.

"I don't think you can convince Iraq with threats, but with arguments," Maas told Deutschl and funk radio, warning that years-long efforts to rebuild Iraq "could all be lost" if the situation escalates.

‘Million-Strong’ Homage for General Brings Tehran to Standstill

Downtown Tehran was brought to a standstill Monday, 4 January, as mourners flooded the Iranian capital to pay an emotional homage to Qasem Soleimani, the "heroic" general killed in a US strike, reports PTI.

Young and old were packed shoulder-to-shoulder in the streets, including women dressed in black-clad chadours and others wearing loose-fitting hijabs.

Mourners Pack Tehran to Grieve Iranian General Soleimani

Mourners packed the streets of Tehran early Monday for ceremonies to pay homage to top Iranian military commander Qasem Soleimani, after he was killed in a US strike in Baghdad, reports AFP.

Clutching portraits of their hero in their hands, the crowd gathered on the outskirts of Tehran University where the supreme leader is to preside over prayers for the slain general.

Iran Supreme Leader Prays Over Coffin of General Soleimani

Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei prayed over the coffin containing the remains of top military commander Qasem Soleimeni in an emotional ceremony in Tehran on Monday, 6 January.

Soleimani was killed in a US drone strike Friday near Baghdad international airport, shocking the Islamic republic and raising fears of a new Middle East war.

Trump Threatens 'Very Big' Sanctions on Iraq in US Troops are Forced to Leave

US President Donald Trump threatens "very big" sanctions on Iraq if US troops forced to leave, AFP reported.

Trump Asks to Follow His Twitter Over Updates on Iran Situation

President Donald Trump on Sunday said that his tweets would serve as prior notification to the US Congress if he did decide to strike against Iran again.

"These Media Posts will serve as notification to the United States Congress that should Iran strike any US person or target, the United States will quickly and fully strike back, and perhaps in a disproportionate manner,” Trump said in a tweet.

Merkel, Boris and Macron Urge Iran to Withdraw Measures Flouting Nuclear Deal

German Chancellor Angela Merkel, President of France Emmanuel Macron and UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson issue statement urging Iran to withdraw measures flouting nuclear deal, news agency AFP reported.

Iraq's Parliament Calls for Expulsion of US Troops

Iraq's Parliament called for the expulsion of US forces from the country in reaction to the American drone attack that killed a top Iranian general, raising the prospect of a troop withdrawal that could cripple the battle against the Islamic State group and allow a resurgence of the extremists.

2 Rockets Hit Near US Embassy in Baghdad: Report

At least two rockets have hit near the US embassy in Baghdad Iraq, news agency AFP quoted witnesses as saying.

Iran Pulls Out of Nuclear Deal: State Media Report

Amid the rising tensions between the Iran and US, Iran has decided to lift restrictions from operating its nuclear program, the Iranian state TV was quoted by AP as saying. It said that Iran will no longer abide by any limits of its 2015 nuclear deal.

Pompeo Speaks With Foreign Min, Says US Committed to Keep Citizens, Allies Safe

US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, on Sunday, 5 January tweeted that he has spoken to Foreign Affairs Minister S Jaishankar regarding the ongoing tensions with Iran after the killing of General Qassem Soleimani.

“Dr S Jaishankar and I spoke just now regarding Iran’s continued threats and provocations. The Trump Administration won’t hesitate to act to keep American lives, and those of our friends and allies, safe,” he said.

Iraqi MPs to Meet on US Troop Ouster After Soleimani Killing

Iraq's parliament is expected to vote Sunday, 5 January, on ousting US troops from military bases, which are threatened by pro-Tehran factions after an American strike killed top Iranian and Iraqi commanders, reports AFP.

Some 5,200 US soldiers are deployed across Iraqi bases to train and support local troops to prevent a resurgence of the Islamic State jihadist group.

The 329-member parliament is set to meet at 1:00pm local time (1000 GMT) and while no agenda has been published, many lawmakers are pushing for a vote on the foreign troops.

"We either vote on the occupation forces leaving, or we remain subservient, robbed of our will and dignity," said Fatah MP Ahmad al-Kinany.

Heightened US-Iran Tensions May Hit Tea Exports to Tehran

The tea industry has expressed concern over the possibility of exports to Iran taking a hit in the wake of spiralling tensions between the US and the Persian country.

Iran's Major General Qasem Soleimani was killed in a US drone attack on Friday, which ratcheted up acrimony between the arch-enemies and sparked fears of a new war in the Middle East.

"There will be an impact if there is a conflict between the US and Iran. Orthodox tea exports will suffer," Tea Board Chairman P K Bezbaruah told PTI.

Iran has emerged as the single largest importer of Indian orthodox tea after the CIS countries.

Till November 2019, exports to Iran stood at 50.43 million kg, while shipments to the CIS block was at 52.80 million kg, Tea Board data showed.

US State Department Warns Embassy Personnel of Security Risks

The US Department of State has warned US embassy personnel to be aware of their surroundings and not participate in protests, reports ANI.

The statement reads as follows:

“There is heightened tension in Middle East that may result in security risks to US citizens abroad. US Embassy personnel are instructed to remain aware of their surroundings,avoid protests & monitor local media outlets.”

Iran Army Says US Lacks 'Courage' for Conflict After Trump Threat Tehran

Iran's army chief said on Sunday 5 January that Washington lacked the "courage" to initiate a conflict after US President Donald Trump threatened to hit dozens of targets inside the Islamic republic, reported by AFP.

"I doubt they have the courage to initiate" a conflict in which the Americans threatened to strike 52 targets, Major General Abdolrahim Mousavi said, quoted by state news agency IRNA.

'Spent Two Trillion Dollars On Military Equipment, Will Send It Iran's Way Without Hesitation': Trump

Taking on possible Iranian threats to US, President Donald Trump once again tweeted that the US will attack Iran “without hesitation” if they plan any attack on American bases or civilians.

Soleimani's Body Arrives In Iran: AP

After thousands in Baghdad on Saturday mourned Soleimani and others killed in the strike, authorities flew the general’s body to the southwestern Iranian city of Ahvaz, according to the state-run IRNA news agency. An honor guard stood by early Sunday as mourners carried the flag-draped coffins of Soleimani and other Guard members off the tarmac.

Iranian Hackers' Claim Breach Of US Govt Website: AFP

A group claiming to be hackers from Iran breached the website of a little-known US government agency on Saturday and posted messages vowing revenge for Washington's killing of top military commander Qasem Soleimani.

The website of the Federal Depository Library Program was replaced with a page titled "Iranian Hackers!" that displayed images of Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and the Iranian flag."Martyrdom was (Soleimani's)... reward for years of implacable efforts," read a graphic depicting US President Donald Trump being punched by a first emanating from Iran as missiles fly by.

"With his departure and with God's power, his work and path will not cease and severe revenge awaits those criminals who have tainted their filthy hands with his blood and blood of the other martyrs," it said.

"This is only small part of Iran's cyber ability !" another caption on the page read in white text on a black background.

'52 Iranian Sites Will Be Hit VERY FAST AND VERY HARD, if Iran attacks America': Trump

US President Donald Trump warned on Saturday, 4 January, that the US is targeting 52 sites in Iran and will hit them "very fast and very hard" if the Islamic republic attacks American personnel or assets.

In a tweet defending Friday's drone strike assassination of a top Iranian general, Qassem Soleimaini, in Iraq, Trump said 52 represents the number of Americans held hostage at the US embassy in Tehran for more than a year starting in late 1979.

Missiles Hit Green Zone And Iraq Base Housing US Troops: AP

In the first hints of a possible retaliatory response, two mortar rounds hit an area near the US embassy in Baghdad on Saturday, security sources told AFP. Almost simultaneously, two rockets slammed into the Al-Balad airbase where American troops are deployed, security sources said.

The Iraqi military confirmed the missile attacks in Baghdad and on al-Balad and said there were no casualties.

The US military also said no coalition troops were hurt.

Iran: US Asked for Proportionate Response to General's Killing

Washington asked Tehran to respond "in proportion" after US forces killed top Iranian military commander Qasem Soleimani, the deputy commander of the Revolutionary Guards said.

The Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps confirmed Soleimani, the commander of its Quds Force foreign operations arm, had been killed on Friday in a US air strike near Baghdad airport.

Thousands of Iraqis Join Baghdad Funeral for Slain Commanders

Thousands of Iraqis chanting "Death to America" joined the funeral procession on Saturday, 4 January for Iranian commander Qassem Soleimani and Iraqi paramilitary chief Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, both killed in a US air strike.

The cortege set off around Kadhimiya, a Shiite pilgrimage district of Baghdad, before heading to the Green Zone government and diplomatic compound where a state funeral was to be held attended by top dignitaries.

Another Airstrike Kills 5 Members of Iran-Backed Militia in Iraq

Another airstrike, almost exactly 24 hours after the one that targeted top Iranian general Qassem Soleimani, killed five members of an Iran-backed militia north of Baghdad, an Iraqi security official was quoted by the Associated Press as saying anonymously on Saturday.

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 US official said the attack was not an American military attack. The official spoke on condition of anonymity.

‘Don’t Seek Regime Change in Iran’: Trump After Soleimani’s Death

US President Donald Trump on Friday said that top Iranian general Qassem Soleimani was “terminated” when he was on the verge of attacking US diplomats, but he insisted that Washington is not seeking to topple Iran's government.

"Soleimani was plotting imminent and sinister attacks on American diplomats and military personnel, but we caught him in the act and terminated him," Trump said in a statement before television cameras in Florida.

While referring to the Iranian military mastermind, killed in a US air attack earlier on Friday in Baghdad, as "sick," Trump attempted to lower tensions by insisting that he does not want war with Iran.

"We took action last night to stop a war. We did not take action to start a war. I have deep respect for Iranian people. We do not seek regime change. However Iranian regime's aggression in the region, including use of proxy fighters to destabilise its neighbours, must end now,” he added.

Iraq Cycle of Violence Must Stop Before it Spirals Out of Control: EU

The European Union on Friday asserted that the Iraq cycle of violence must stop before it “spirals out of control”, AFP reported.

US Sending 3,000 More Troops to Mideast as Reinforcements

The US is sending nearly 3,000 more Army troops to the Mideast as reinforcements after the killing of Iranian general Qassem Soleimani, defence officials were quoted by the Associated Press as saying on Friday.

The officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss a decision not yet announced by the Pentagon, said the troops are from the 82nd Airborne Division at Fort Bragg, North Carolina.

They are in addition to about 700 soldiers from the 82nd Airborne who were deployed to Kuwait earlier this week after the storming of the US Embassy compound in Baghdad by Iran-backed militiamen and their supporters.

France Calls On All Parties to Show Restraint

France on Friday called on all parties to show restraint in the aftermath of the killing of Iran’s top military commander Qassem Soleimani in a US drone strike.

“For France and all of its partners, every effort must now be made to avoid further escalation of tensions and to facilitate de-escalation in order to preserve stability of Iraq and region as a whole,” the country’s Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs said.

Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian held a telephonic conversation with his American counterpart, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, following the developments in Iraq.

World Cannot Afford Another War in Gulf: UN Secretary-General

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres on Friday cautioned that the world cannot afford another war in the Gulf, following the killing of Iran's top military commander Qassem Soleimani in a US drone strike.

Deputy Spokesman for the Secretary-General Farhan Haq tweeted, "The Secretary-General has consistently advocated for de-escalation in the Gulf. He is deeply concerned with the recent escalation.”

The UN chief said this is a moment in which leaders must exercise maximum restraint. "The world cannot afford another war in the Gulf," he said.

Soleimani’s Support for Syria Army Won’t Be Forgotten, Says Assad

Syrian President Assad has said that Iran’s top general Qassem Soleimani’s support for Syrian army “will not be forgotten”, reports AFP.

'Iran Never Won a War, but Never Lost a Negotiation!': Trump

In an apparent attempt to de-escalate tensions and bring Iran to the negotiating table after the assassination of its top general Qassem Soleimani, US President Donald Trump tweeted, “Iran never won a war, but never lost a negotiation!”

Trump had earlier tweeted a photo of the US national flag.

India Advocates Restraint: MEA on Soleimani's Killing

India, on Friday, issued a statement on Soleimani’s killing, stating that peace and security in the region is vital.

“We have noted that a senior Iranian leader has been killed by the US. The increase in tension has alarmed the world. Peace, stability and security in this region is of utmost importance to India. It is vital that the situation does not escalate further. India has consistently advocated restraint and continues to do so,” the statement from MEA said.

'US Committed to De-escalation': Secretary of State Mike Pompeo

Secretary of State Pompeo has said that the US is “committed to de-escalation”, after Soleimani’s killing, reports AFP.

'Soleimani Responsible for Death of Innocents, We Stands With US': Israel PM Netanyahu

Israel PM Benjamin Netanyahu lauded the US for killing Iran’s Qassem Soleimani, saying, “Just as Israel has the right to self-defence, the US has exactly the same right. Qassem Soleimani is responsible for the deaths of American citizens and many other innocent people. He was planning more such attacks.”

“President Trump deserves all the credit for acting swiftly, forcefully and decisively. Israel stands with the US in its just struggle for peace security and self-defence,” he added.

Esmail Qaani Named New Quds Chief

Iran has named Esmail Qaani the new chief of Iran’s elite Quds after its previous commander Qassem Soleimani was killed in a US airstrike.

Qaani was formerly the deputy commander of Quds.

Read the full story here.

Britain, Germany & Iraq Call for Restraint and De-escalation

Germany and Britain urged all parties to de-escalate after the US killed Iranian commander Qassem Soleimani in an airstrike, AFP reports.

Iraqi President Barham Saleh also called for restraint, according to the news agency.

Russia Offers Condolences to Iranians, Says Soleimani's Killing Will Lead to Escalation of Tensions

The Foreign Affairs Ministry of Russia has said that the killing of Iran’s Soleimani will “lead to further escalation of tensions in the Middle East region.”

“Condolences are sent to Iranians, who have lost Soleimani as true defender of national interests of the country,” it added, ANI reported.

Israel PM Netanyahu Cuts Short Greece Trip After Iran Commander Killing

Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has cut short his Greece trip after the killing of Iranian commander Qassem Soleimani, an official told news agency AFP.

Israel has had a long-standing conflict with Iran and other Islamic nations in the region.

US Urges Citizens in Baghdad to Depart Immidiately

The United States Embassy in Baghdad has urged its citizens to depart the country immidiately, after an airstrike struck the airport, leaving Iranian general Qassem Soleimani dead.

Iran President Rouhani Vows Revenge on US Over Soleimani's Death

Iran and the "free nations of the region" will take revenge on the United States for killing Revolutionary Guards commander Qasem Soleimani, President Hasan Rouhani said Friday.

"There is no doubt that the great nation of Iran and the other free nations of the region will take revenge for this gruesome crime from criminal America," Rouhani said in a statement posted on the Iranian government website.

His Blood Was Shed by the Most Barbaric Man: Khamenei Mourns Soleimani

Iran to Witness Three Days of Mourning for Soleimani

Iran's Supreme Leader, Ali Khamenei has declared three days of mourning for Soleimani, news agency AFP reported.

Harsh Retaliation Waiting for US: Iran Supreme Leader Khamanei

Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has warned that a “harsh retaliation is waiting” for the US after the airstrike on Baghdad airport that killed Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani, the head of Iran's elite Quds Force.

Pompeo Tweets Visuals of Iraqis Celebrating Soleimani's Death

A tweet from the official handle of the US secretary of State, Mike Pompeo has tweeted out visuals of people on the streets of Iraq, claimed to be celebrating Soleimani’s death.

Congress Not Notified Ahead of Airstrike: House Foreign Affairs Chair

The house foreign affairs chair has said that the US Congress was not notified ahead of Soleimani’s killing, news agency AFP reported.

Elizabeth Warren Calls Strike on Soleimani Reckless

United States Senator Elizabeth Warren, on Friday called the US move to launch an airstrike to execute Qassem Soleimani a 'reckless' move that will escalate the situation, leading to more deaths and new Middle East conflict. "Our priority must be to avoid another costly war," she said.

Extremely Dangerous & Foolish Escalation: Iran Foreign Minister

Iran Foreign Minister Javad Zarif, on the airstrike, said that the US' act of international terrorism, assassinating General Soleimani is extremely dangerous and foolish escalation. “US bears responsibility for all consequences of rogue adventurism,” he said.

Iran Guards Confirm Soleimani's Death in Read Out Statement

Iran's Revolutionary Guards confirmed in a statement read out on state television that the commander of its Quds Force Qasem Soleimani was killed by US forces in Baghdad on Friday.

Top Iran Body Calls for Urgent Meet, Iran Guards Ex-Head Vows Revenge

Top Iran security body has called for an urgent meeting after Soleimani’s 'martyrdom,' news agency AFP reported. Further, the former head of the Iran Guards has also vowed a 'revenge' on the United States.

US President Trump Tweets American Flag

In a rather cryptic post, US president Donald Trump, after the airstrikes, tweeted out a picture of the flag of United States of America.

Oil Prices Soar More Than 4 Percent After Iranian General Killed

Oil prices soared more than four percent on Friday following claims that the US had killed a top Iranian general, ratcheting up tensions between the foes and fuelling fears of a conflict in the crude-rich region.

Soleimani Was Planning to Attack US Diplomats: White House Issues Statement

The White House issued a statement after a US airstrike killed Iranian General Soleimani. In its statement, the White House said that at the direction of the President, the US military has taken decisive defensive action to protect US personnel abroad by killing Qasem Soleimani, the head of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps-Quds Force, a US-designated Foreign Terrorist Organization.

"General Soleimani was actively developing plans to attack American diplomats and service members in Iraq and throughout the region," it said.

Pentagon Says US Airstrike Killed Iranian General

After Iranian General Qassem Soleimani was killed in an airstrike at the Baghdad international airport, the Pentagon confirmed that it was, on orders of the US President, that the killing of Iran's most senior commander Qassem Suleimani was executed, news agency AFP reported.

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