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Trump claims without providing evidence Iran's Qassem Soleimani planned to attack four US embassies

President speaks to Fox News after week of high tension

Andrew Buncombe
Seattle
Saturday 11 January 2020 01:42 GMT
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Trump claims without providing evidence Soleimani planned to attack four US embassies

Donald Trump has claimed Iranian military leader Qassem Soleimani was planning to attack four US embassies when he was killed an American airstrike.

Amid continuing controversy over whether or not Soleimani represented an imminent threat to America, and after a shifting narrative from the Trump administration, the president said – without providing evidence – that among those being targetted was the US embassy in Baghdad.

“We will tell you that probably it was going to be the embassy in Baghdad,” Mr Trump told Fox News in an interview broadcast a week after Soleimani was killed in a drone strike at Baghdad’s airport.

When pressed on whether attacks were planned for other embassies, the president said: “I can reveal that I believe it probably would’ve been four embassies.”

Just hours earlier, secretary of state Mike Pompeo had said the US did not know when or where such attacks might occur.

At a press conference at the White House, Mr Pompeo was asked for specifics.

“I don’t know exactly which minute,” Mr Pompeo said.

US announces new sanctions against Iran

“We don’t know exactly which day it would have been executed, but it was very clear. Qassem Soleimani himself was plotting a broad, large-scale attack against American interests and those attacks were imminent.”

The comments of the two men ended a week that saw Iran respond to the killing by firing rockets at two bases in northern Iraq used by US troops.

The attacks hurt no Americans but on the same night, a civilian airliner came down near Tehran’s airport, killing around 180 people.

A series of western countries have accused Iran of shooting the plane down by accident, something Iran has denied.

Additional reporting by agencies

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