US intelligence services believe Tehran may be planning to strike at US forces in the Middle East. This probable blow is timed to the anniversary of the assassination of the commander of the Al-Quds special forces of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (elite units of the Iranian Armed Forces) Qassem Soleimani. The fears of the intelligence services were reported on Wednesday by Fox News.
According to his sources, the Pentagon has information according to which Iran still вЂњwants to avenge this murder.вЂќ As an official of the US military department specified, there is evidence of preparations in Iraq for attacks, вЂњfor the implementation of which Iran's assistance is required.вЂќ The source clarified that it is not yet clear whether it is about вЂњcontingency planningвЂќ or about direct preparation for strikes.
US intelligence services admit the possibility of Iranian attacks against US forces or Washington's allies and in other countries. As the source clarified, вЂњIraq is the most worrisome.вЂќ Moreover, the strikes can be delivered by both short-range ballistic missiles and cruise missiles and quadcopters, similar to those used in the attack on Saudi Aramco oil refineries last year.
At the moment, the risk of an attack from Iran is assessed by the American intelligence services as the highest since the elimination of Soleimani a year ago. The previous similar aggravation of relations occurred in May 2019, when the American group in the Middle East was reinforced by the aircraft carrier Abraham Lincoln.
The current tension began when 21 rockets were fired at the US embassy in Baghdad on December 20. It was the largest shelling of a diplomatic quarter in the Iraqi capital in 10 years. US President Donald Trump blamed Tehran for the incident and threatened to retaliate. In proof of Iranian involvement in the attack, he posted on Twitter a photo of three munitions, which he described as Iranian. вЂњSome friendly health advice to Iran: If even one American is killed, I will blame Iran for it. Think about it,вЂќ the US president wrote.
Several suspects were arrested by Iraqi security forces following a missile attack on the US Embassy.
According to Fox News, it was the fears of new attacks from Iran that caused the deployment of strategic B-52 bombers to the Middle East, which was announced on Wednesday by the US Central Command (CENTCOM). The area of his operational responsibility includes primarily the Middle East and Central Asia. The head of CENTCOM, General Frank Mackenzie, warned that the United States is вЂњready to respond to any aggressionвЂќ in the Middle East directed against American citizens or interests.