World War 3 fears: Trump warns Iran against attacking US troops amid coronavirus crisis

Mr Trump gave very little detail on the alleged planned attacked. Nonetheless, the president warned they would pay a “very heavy price” should this play out.

Taking to social media, Trump tweeted: “Upon information and belief, Iran or its proxies are planning a sneak attack on US troops and/or assets in Iraq.

“If this happens, Iran will pay a very heavy price, indeed!”

The post was tweeted shortly after he was scheduled to have an intelligence briefing.

Intelligence about a potential Iran-backed strike in Iraq suggests it would likely be a deniable attack, as opposed to the kind of overt missile strike that Tehran carried out on January 8, a US official told Reuters.

The official said intelligence threads about a potential attack by Iran or Iran-backed forces had been building for some time.

However, the official did not disclose intelligence on the timing or precise locations of any attack.

Speaking before Trump’s tweet, a top military aide to Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei issued a warning to Washington.

The aide warned Washington against “provocative actions” in Iraq according to Iranian news agencies.

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The United States and Iran have long been engaged in a war of words over US sanctions, which aim to force Iran to curb its nuclear and missile programs as well as its use of proxies in conflicts in Iraq, Lebanon and Yemen.

Washington has repeatedly tightened its sanctions.

These are designed to choke off Tehran’s oil exports, in the last month as the coronavirus outbreak has spread in Iran, one of the nations in the Middle East hardest hit by the virus.

Phillip Smyth, an expert who tracks Shi’ite militias at Washington Institute for Near East Policy think tank, said he believed Trump’s warning was prompted by the emergence of the League of the Revolutionaries.


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This is a group he said was formed to give deniability to Kataib Hezbollah to attack US targets.

Tensions between the US and Iran have remained high following the killing of Iranian general Qasem Soleimani earlier this year.

The warning comes after Trump refused to accept the news of an ex FBI agent dying while in Iranian custody.

Robert Levinson’s family announced the sad news in a statement today. Mr Levinson disappeared in Iran 13 years ago from the island of Kish off Iran’s southern coast.

He was the longest-held hostage in US history.

But Trump has disputed the claims that Mr Levinson is dead, in an unexpected turn of events.

Speaking at the White House, he said: “I’ve been very much involved in that and he was a great gentleman and a great family.

“It’s not looking good, he wasn’t well for years in Iran, it’s not looking promising.”

The president added: “But Robert Levinson, who was outstanding, has been sick for a long time.

“He had some rough problems prior to his detainment or capture.

“It’s not looking great, but I won’t accept that he’s dead.

“They haven’t told us he’s dead.”

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