Trump warns Iran against possible 'sneak attack' on U.S

The tweet followed the revelation that the United States had deployed Patriot air defense systems to an Iraqi military base as a precaution against Iranian-backed militia attacks, the website Middle East Eye reported, citing U.S. and Iraqi military sources.

The Trump administration has for months suggested that any Iranian, or Iran-backed militia attacks against Americans in the region would warrant harsh USA military retaliation, but Mr. Trump's surprise announcement indicates new intelligence of a potential threat.

According to Press TV, Iraqi security sources said on Sunday that new US troops had been deployed to Ain al-Asad in the western Iraqi province of Anbar amid reports that the Pentagon was preparing for a new escalation.

It was not immediately clear whether the USA had ultimately received the Iraqi government's approval.

So far, Baghdad has not commented on the Patriot defence batteries' deployment. As such, the number of bases where coalition forces will be deployed in Iraq will decrease.

The Patriot systems are composed of high performance radars and interceptor missiles capable of destroying incoming ballistic missiles in flight.

The Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) warned in a statement that the slightest mistake by the "vicious and adventurous enemies" against Iran would be their last, in reference to the United States.

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In recent weeks, the US-led coalition has significantly drawn down troop levels in Iraq. The coalition officially transferred K1 Air Base in the northern Iraqi province of Kirkuk to the Iraqi Armed Forces on Sunday.

The alliance is also temporarily withdrawing hundreds of trainers, as Iraq's military has halted all training since early March to minimise the risk of the novel coronavirus pandemic spreading among its forces.

The US-led global coalition is now relocating its troops in Iraq to consolidate them at better-protected bases.

On Monday, Iraq's caretaker prime minister Adel Abdul Mahdi warned against any "offensive military action without the approval of the Iraqi government", but did not specifically mention the Patriots.

Those bases and foreign embassies, particularly the American mission, have been targeted in more than two dozen rocket strikes since late October.

They were deployed by Washington as a precaution against Iranian-backed militia attacks.

  • Sonia Alvarado