Iran will pay a heavy price for its role in the attack on the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad, Iraq, President Donald Trump said on Dec. 31. Later in the day, the president said that price will not likely include war with Iran.
“The U.S. Embassy in Iraq is, & has been for hours, SAFE! Many of our great Warfighters, together with the most lethal military equipment in the world, was immediately rushed to the site. Thank you to the President & Prime Minister of Iraq for their rapid response upon request,” the president tweeted on Dec. 31.
In a second tweet, Trump wrote: “Iran will be held fully responsible for lives lost, or damage incurred, at any of our facilities. They will pay a very BIG PRICE! This is not a Warning, it is a Threat. Happy New Year!”
Later on Tuesday, Trump said he didn’t believe a war with Iran was on the horizon.
“I don’t think that would be a good idea for Iran…I like peace…I don’t see that happening,” Trump told reporters ahead of a New Year’s Eve party at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida.
Commenting on the riots at the U.S. embassy in Baghdad, the president said, “I think it’s been handled very well… we had some great warriors come in…this will not be a Benghazi…they got in there very quickly.”
There were no reports of casualties in the embassy riots. The U.S. State Department said all American personnel were safe and that there were no plans to evacuate the embassy. The Pentagon said it planned to send more troops to protect the compound.
A U.S. defense official told Fox News that 100 Marines had been sent to the embassy to bolster security. A U.S. Apache helicopter gunship also flew over the embassy and dropped flares in a “show of force,” attempting to disperse the crowd. Defense Secretary Mark Esper later confirmed additional forces were being sent, as the military released images of those forces deploying from Kuwait.
According to reports, Iran-backed Iraqi militants raided the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad, setting fires and smashing security cameras before forcing their way into the compound.
The American Ambassador to Iraq, Matthew Tueller, was evacuated from the compound with his staff, Reuters reported.
The tweet marked the second time in several hours that Trump said Iran was responsible for the attack on the U.S. embassy in Baghdad.
“Iran killed an American contractor, wounding many,” Trump tweeted. “We strongly responded, and always will.”
Trump added: “Now Iran is orchestrating an attack on the U.S. Embassy in Iraq. They will be held fully responsible. In addition, we expect Iraq to use its forces to protect the Embassy, and so notified!”
The embassy was attacked, reports say, as retaliation for recent U.S. airstrikes in Iraq and Syria against an Iranian-backed militia which the U.S. said was responsible for a rocket attack that killed an American civilian contractor and injured several U.S. military service members.
At least 25 jihadists were killed and 55 more injured in the U.S. airstrikes over the weekend, which hit five camps of the Shi’ite group Kata’ib Hizbullah, a close ally of Iran linked to the Lebanese terror group Hizbullah.
Trump on Tuesday also played down the possibility that North Korea’s Kim Jong-Un would fire a ballistic missile as a “gift” for the U.S.
Noting he gets along with Kim, Trump added, “I think he’s a man of his word.”