James O'Brien 10am - 1pm
President Trump vows to bomb 52 sites if Iran retaliates for General Soleimani killing
5 January 2020, 08:10
President Donald Trump has threatened to bomb 52 sites in Iran if Tehran retaliates to the US’ killing of General Qassem Soleimani.
Explosions were reported near multiple American embassies and camps in neighbouring Iraq amid escalating tensions in the Middle East following the fatal drone strike on the Iranian military leader.
On Saturday, two rockets were fired near the US Embassy in Baghdad, while Balad Airbase, north of the city, has also been targeted by another three rockets, according to Sky News Arabia.
Mr Trump has already deployed 3,000 extra troops to Kuwait and the Royal Navy will accompany UK-flagged ships through the key oil route of the Strait of Hormuz.
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
In a series of tweets, Mr Trump wrote: “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 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 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!”
He later 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!”
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has criticised the UK’s reaction to the strike, claiming several European countries “haven’t been as helpful as I wish that they could be.”
Prime Minister Boris Johnson is yet to comment on the attack, but will return to the UK on Sunday after having spent the New Year in the Caribbean island of Mustique.
General Soleimani was head of Iran's elite Quds Force and masterminded Tehran's regional security strategy.
He was killed in the early hours of Friday morning in a targeted strike at Baghdad international airport.
The military leader’s funeral will take place within the next few days, with his body arriving in Ahvaz in southwestern Iran on Sunday.
Jeremy Corbyn said the "assassination" risks "an extremely serious escalation of a dangerous conflict with global consequences by a belligerent US president".
"Boris Johnson should have immediately cut short his holiday to deal with an issue that could have grave consequences for the UK and the world," the outgoing Labour leader added.