US Marines landed in Baghdad; Israel puts army on alert; U.S. citizens to depart Iraq immediately
PANAGYURISHTE, (BM) – Your briefly report on January 3 in last six hours from BulgarianMilitary.com:
US Marines arrive at America embassy in Baghdad
US Marines yesterday landed at the American embassy in Baghdad, an Iraqi security source revealed.
The officer in the Iraqi defence ministry said US helicopters circled over the Green Zone in the capital as electricity was cut off in the local vacinity.
The source, who preferred not to be named, added: “The Marines landed at the American embassy and combed the building.”
There was no immediate comment from the Iraqi authorities on this.
On Wednesday, the US embassy in Baghdad announced the suspension of all consular operations until further notice following two days of protests which saw demonstrators storm the site. Protesters were demonstrating against US air strikes that killed at least 25 pro-Iranian Iraqi fighters earlier in the week.
Israel defends U.S. killing of Iranian commander, puts military on alert
Israel’s prime minister defended a U.S. decision to launch an air strike on Friday that killed powerful Iranian commander Qassem Soleimani and the Israeli military was put on high alert, after Iran threatened revenge.
Senior defence officials in Israel, America’s closest ally in the Middle East and Iran’s top regional foe, also met to assess the situation after the killing of Quds Force chief Soleimani and an Iraqi militia commander in the strike.
“Just as Israel has the right of self-defence, the United States has exactly the same right,” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in a statement issued by his office.
“Qassem Soleimani is responsible for the death of American citizens and many other innocent people. He was planning more such attacks,” he said, speaking at an airport in Greece before heading back to Israel after cutting short his trip.
Israel’s Army Radio said the military was on a heightened alert, and officials said Defence Minister Naftali Bennett met military and intelligence chiefs for a “situational assessment”.
Israel has long regarded Soleimani as a major threat. The military said in August it had foiled a Quds Force attack, masterminded by Soleimani that involved multiple drones operating from Syria.
U.S. embassy urges citizens to depart Iraq immediately: statement
The United States embassy in Baghdad urged on Friday all citizens to depart Iraq immediately, hours after the U.S. killed Iranian Quds Force leader Qassem Soleimani and Iraqi militia commander Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis in an air strike.
“Due to heightened tensions in Iraq and the region, the U.S. Embassy urges American citizens to heed the January 2020 Travel Advisory and depart Iraq immediately. U.S. citizens should depart via airline while possible, and failing that, to other countries via land,” it said in a statement.
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Source: Reuters, MEMO,