11 U.S. Troops Injured in Iran Missile Attack

While it was initially reported that the Jan. 8 Iranian attack on Iraqi bases housing U.S. troops caused no casualties or injuries, 11 U.S. service members have been treated for injury.

The troops were airlifted to Germany and Kuwait and underwent treatment for traumatic brain injuries and screening, said Col. Myles Caggins, a spokesman for U.S. military command in Baghdad.

“As previously stated, while no U.S. service members were killed in the Jan. 8 Iranian attack on Al Asad Air base, several were treated for concussion symptoms from the blast and are still being assessed,” Caggins told Defense One.

“Out of an abundance of caution, some service members were transported from Al Asad Air Base, Iraq to Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany, others were sent to Camp Arifjan, Kuwait, for follow-on screening,” he added. “When deemed fit for duty, the service members are expected to return to Iraq following screening. The health and welfare of our personnel is a top priority and we will not discuss any individual’s medical status.” (Read more from “11 U.S. Troops Injured in Iran Missile Attack” HERE)

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Trump Administration Issues MORE Sanctions Against Iran

The Trump administration continued to tighten the screws on the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism on Friday as Special Envoy to Iran Brian Hook announced new sanctions against a top general in the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, which is a designated Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO).

“The United States is listing IRGC Brigadier General Hassan Shahvarpour under section 7031c visa sanctions. General Shahvarpour committed gross violations of human rights against protestors in Mahshahr. He oversaw the massacre of 148 helpless Iranians in the Mahshahr region last November,” Hook said. “General Shahvarpour was in command of units responsible for the violent crackdown and lethal repression around Mahshahr. This is the first designation on an Iranian regime official being taken under the State Department authority from section 7031c authorities.”

Hook noted that the tip-line that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo established last November has received 88,000 tips from the people of Iran.

“Since the violent crackdown on protests last November, the United States has sanctioned two judges and eight other regime officials for their roles in brutalizing the Iranian people. We are continuing to review all information we receive from the Iranian people and will continue to hold more regime officials responsible for human rights violations,” Hook continued. “Over the past week, many Iranians took to the streets again to protest a corrupt government that lies to them. President Trump recognized their courage with his tweets in Farsi this past week standing with the Iranian people. We call on all nations to join our lead, particularly by sanctioning Iranian officials for human rights violations.” (Read more from “Trump Administration Issues MORE Sanctions Against Iran” HERE)

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Report: Radical Islam Still Driving Global Christian Persecution

Islamic extremism is a primary driver of Christian persecution in eight out of the ten most dangerous places for Christians to live, Open Doors revealed Wednesday in its World Watch List 2020.

In Somalia, for instance, number three on the list of the 50 countries where Christians face the most serious persecution, the violent Islamist group, al-Shabaab “has repeatedly expressed its desire to eradicate Christians from the country,” Open Doors noted.

Some 99 percent of Somali citizens are Muslims, and being exposed as a convert to Christianity results in life-threatening peril, “often leading to on-the-spot execution,” the report observed. “As a result, most Somali Christians keep their faith completely secret.”

The situation has only gotten worse over recent years, the report stated, and Christians in Somalia are so vulnerable to attacks by Islamic militants that “in the interests of security,” Open Doors decided not to publish specific examples of persecution for fear of inciting further violence.

In Libya, on the other hand, various Islamic militant groups have gained control over parts of the country and “Libyan converts to Christianity face abuse and violence for their decision to follow Christ,” Open Doors said. (Read more from “Report: Radical Islam Still Driving Global Christian Persecution” HERE)

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Iran’s Only Female Olympic Medalist Defects Amid Mass Protests Against the Regime

Iran’s one and only female Olympic medalist said she has defected over the Iranian government’s “corruption and lies.”

Kimia Alizadeh, 21, posted on Instagram on Saturday announcing that she had defected from Iran and permanently left the country for Europe. She slammed the Iranian regime for oppressing women and for largely dictating her own life.

“Let me start with a greeting, a farewell or condolences,” Alizadeh said, according to a CNN translation. “I am one of the millions of oppressed women in Iran who they have been playing with for years.”

She attacked the regime for controlling her life and using her as a tool to bring prestige to the regime.

“They took me wherever they wanted. I wore whatever they said. Every sentence they ordered me to say, I repeated. Whenever they saw fit, they exploited me,” she said, adding that Iranian leaders took credit for her accomplishments.

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با سلام آغاز کنم، با خداحافظی یا تسلیت؟ سلام مردم مظلوم ایران، خداحافظ مردم نجیب ایران، تسلیت به شما مردم همیشه داغدار ایران. شما مرا چقدر می‌شناسید؟ فقط آنطور که در مسابقات، در تلویزیون، یا در حضور مقامات دیده‌اید. اجازه دهید حالا آزادانه، هویت سانسور شده‌ام را معرفی کنم. می‌گویند کیمیا پس از این چیزی نخواهد شد. خودم از این هم فراتر می‌روم و می‌گویم قبل از این هم چیزی نبوده‌ام: «من کیمیا علیزاده، نه تاریخسازم، نه قهرمانم، نه پرچمدار کاروان ایران» من یکی از میلیون‌ها زن سرکوب شده در ایرانم که سال‌هاست هر طور خواستند بازی‌ام دادند. هر کجا خواستند بردند. هر چه گفتند پوشیدم. هر جمله‌ای دستور دادند تکرار کردم. هر زمان صلاح دیدند، مصادره‌ام کردند. مدال‌هایم را پای حجاب اجباری گذاشتند و به مدیریت و درایت خودشان نسبت دادند. من برایشان مهم نبودم. هیچکداممان برایشان مهم نیستیم، ما ابزاریم. فقط آن مدال‌های فلزی اهمیت دارد تا به هر قیمتی که خودشان نرخ گذاشتند از ما بخرند و بهره‌برداری سیاسی کنند، اما همزمان برای تحقیرت، می‌گویند: فضیلت زن این نیست که پاهایش را دراز کند! من صبح‌ها هم از خواب بیدار می‌شوم پاهایم ناخودآگاه مثل پنکه می‌چرخد و به در و دیوار می‌گیرد. آنوقت چگونه می‌توانستم مترسکی باشم که می‌خواستند از من بسازند؟ در برنامه زنده تلویزیون، سوال‌هایی پرسیدند که دقیقاً بخاطر همان سوال دعوتم کرده بودند. حالا که نیستم می‌گویند تن به ذلت داده‌ام. آقای ساعی! من آمدم تا مثل شما نباشم و در مسیری که شما پیش رفتید قدم برندارم. من در صورت تقلید بخشی از رفتارهای شما، بیش از شما می‌توانستم به ثروت و قدرت برسم. من به اینها پشت کردم. من یک انسانم و می‌خواهم بر مدار انسانیت باقی بمانم. در ذهن‌های مردسالار و زن‌ستیزتان، همیشه فکر می‌کردید کیمیا زن است و زبان ندارد! روح آزرده من در کانال‌های آلوده اقتصادی و لابی‌های تنگ سیاسی شما نمی‌گنجد. من جز تکواندو، امنیت و زندگی شاد و سالم درخواست دیگری از دنیا ندارم. مردم نازنین و داغدار ایران، من نمی‌خواستم از پله‌های ترقی که بر پایه فساد و دروغ بنا شده بالا بروم. کسی به اروپا دعوتم نکرده و در باغ سبز به رویم باز نشده. اما رنج و سختی غربت را بجان می‌خرم چون نمی‌خواستم پای سفره ریاکاری، دروغ، بی عدالتی و چاپلوسی بنشینم. این تصمیم از کسب طلای المپیک هم سخت‌تر است، اما هر کجا باشم فرزند ایران زمین باقی می‌مانم. پشت به دلگرمی شما می‌دهم و جز اعتماد شما در راه سختی که قدم گذاشته‌ام، خواسته دیگری ندارم.

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(Read more from “Iran’s Only Female Olympic Medalist Defects Amid Mass Protests Against the Regime” HERE)

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Trump Announces New Sanctions Against Iran

The Trump administration announced on Friday a series of new devastating sanctions against Iran which U.S. officials said would cut off billions of dollars from the Islamist terrorist regime.

The sanctions were announced by Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo during a press briefing at the White House and come in response to Iran’s latest attacks on U.S. forces in Iraq.

“First, the President is issuing an executive order authorizing the imposition of additional sanctions against any individual owning, operating, trading with, or assisting sectors of the Iranian economy, including construction, manufacturing, textiles, and mining,” Mnuchin began. “And let me be clear: These will be both primary and secondary sanctions. The EO also allows us to designate other sectors in the future as Secretary Pompeo and me think is appropriate.”

“Second, we are announcing 17 specific sanctions against Iran’s largest steel and iron manufacturers, three Seychelles-based entities, and a vessel involved in the transfer of products,” Mnuchin said. “As a result of these actions, we will cut off billions of dollars of support to the Iranian regime, and we will continue our enforcement of other entities.”

“Third, we are taking action against eight senior Iranian officials who advanced the regime’s destabilizing activity and were involved in Tuesday’s ballistic missile strike,” Mnuchin concluded. “Today’s sanctions are part of our commitment to stop the Iranian regime’s global terrorist activities. The President has been very clear: We will continue to apply economic sanctions until Iran stops its terrorist activities and commit that it will never have nuclear weapons.” (Read more from “Trump Announces New Sanctions Against Iran” HERE)

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US Officials: Iran Shot Down Ukrainian Airliner With Two Russian Missiles

By Greg Norman, Lucas Tomlinson. The Ukrainian passenger plane that crashed shortly after taking off from Tehran’s international airport Wednesday was shot down by mistake by an Iranian anti-aircraft missile, Pentagon officials told Fox News. . .

“An absolute tragedy,” one U.S. official told Fox News. “They just screwed up and it is tragic.”

The revelations come as Ukrainian investigators reportedly are awaiting permission from Iranian authorities to examine the crash site and look for missile fragments. Iran’s head of civil aviation was quoted by the ISNA News Agency as saying Thursday that “scientifically, it is impossible that a missile hit the Ukrainian plane, and such rumors are illogical,” according to Reuters. Iranian officials have blamed a technical malfunction for the aircraft’s doom.

The U.S. official told Fox News that a Russian-made SA15 missile, which is part of the Tor surface-to-air missile system, was the kind that brought down the aircraft. Russia delivered 29 Tor-M1 systems to Iran in 2007 as part of a $700 million contract signed in December 2005. Iran has displayed the missiles in military parades as well. (Read more from “Iran Shot Down Airliner” HERE)

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CNN Reports “Two Russian Missiles” Brought Down Airliner

By Barbara Star. The Ukrainian plane that crashed Wednesday was shot down by two Russian-made surface to air missiles (SA-15), according to a US official familiar with the intelligence.

The US saw Iranian radar signals lock onto the jetliner, before it was shot down. (Read more from “Iran Shot Down Airliner” HERE)

Iran Hits Two US Bases With Ballistic Missiles, Kills No Americans; Warns Any Retaliation Will Result in Strike on Israel, Dubai

By The Blaze. Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps has reportedly issued a statement claiming responsibility for missile strikes hitting U.S.-linked facilities in Iraq on Friday.

According to a translation provided by Axios, the IRGC released a statement following the attacks, saying, “The brave soldiers of IRGC’s aerospace unit have launched a successful attack with tens of ballistic missiles on Al Assad military base in the name of martyr Gen. Qasem Soleimani…We warn all allied countries of the U.S. that if attacks are launched from bases in their countries on Iran, they will be a target of military retaliation.”

(Read more from “Iran Hits 2 US Bases, Claims Responsibility” HERE)

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Preliminary Assessment: No American Casualties

By Shawn Snow and Howard Altman. Iran fired more than a dozen ballistic missiles at two Iraqi bases housing U.S. troops, but preliminary reports suggest there are no U.S. casualties yet, two sources with direct knowledge of actions on the ground told Military Times Tuesday night.

The Pentagon and U.S. Central Command have not provided a formal battle damage assessment.

A U.S. defense official told Military Times that Iran shot 15 missiles at Iraqi bases housing U.S. troops from inside Iran Tuesday night — 10 missiles hit al-Asad airbase, one missile hit Erbil International Airport in in the north, and four missiles failed in flight. (Read more from “Iran Hits 2 US Bases, kills no one” HERE)

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Iran Launches Missile Attack, Warns U.S. Not to Retaliate

By Politico. Iran struck back at the United States for the killing of a top Iranian general early Wednesday, firing a series of surface-to-surface missiles at two Iraqi bases housing U.S. troops and warning the United States and its allies in the region not to retaliate.

U.S. officials confirmed the strikes, though Iran only initially acknowledged targeting one base. There was no immediate word on injuries.

Iran’s Revolutionary Guard warned the U.S. and its regional allies against retaliating over the missile attack against the Ain Assad air base in Iraq’s western Anbar province. The Guard issued the warning via a statement carried by Iran’s state-run IRNA news agency.

“We are warning all American allies, who gave their bases to its terrorist army, that any territory that is the starting point of aggressive acts against Iran will be targeted,” The Guard said. It also threatened Israel.

Ain Assad air base is in Iraq’s western Anbar province. It was first used by American forces after the 2003 U.S.-led invasion that toppled dictator Saddam Hussein, and later saw American troops stationed there amid the fight against the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria. It houses about 1,500 U.S. and coalition forces. (Read more from “Iran Hits 2 US Bases, Warns U.S. Not to Retaliate” HERE)

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Iran says it will hit Haifa and Dubai, next

By Spencer Neale. Iran has threatened to unleash a third wave of attacks in Haifa, Israel, and Dubai, United Arab Emirates, if the United States retaliates after ballistic missiles hit an Iraqi-U.S. coalition military base in western Iraq.

“Iran is warning that if there is retaliation for the two waves of attacks they launched their 3rd wave will destroy Dubai and Haifa,” tweeted NBC News Tehran bureau chief Ali Arouzi.

“Iran making threats of mass escalation,” wrote NBC foreign chief correspondent Richard Engel. “To attack more bases in Iraq. To unleash Hezbollah. To unleash shiite militias in Iraq. To attack Israel and Dubai. Making it clear it is ready for a [widespread] campaign if this escalates further with a US response.” (Read more about “Iran Hits Two US Bases, Threatens More Retaliation” HERE)

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Two Dozen Arrested for Setting Australia’s Fires

. . .In a news release issued Monday, the NSW Police Force said legal action has been taken against more than 180 people since late last year. The bushfires have killed 18 people and burned 4.9 million hectares of land, consuming thousands of structures, and millions of animals, the statement said.

In breaking down their figures, the police said “24 have been charged over deliberately-lit bushfires; 53 people have had legal actions for allegedly failing to comply with a total fire ban; and 47 people have had legal actions for allegedly discarding a lighted cigarette or match on land.”

(Read more from “Two Dozen Arrested for Setting Australia’s Fires” HERE)

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Soleimani Was a Monster, Wanted Atomic Cloud Over Tel Aviv; I Saw Qasem Soleimani’s Brand of Evil Firsthand — It’s Worse Than You Could Possibly Imagine; Iran’s General Replacing Soleimani Vows Revenge for U.S. Killing

By Jerusalem Post. Julian Reichelt, the editor-in-chief of best-selling German newspaper Bild, on Friday authored a barn-burning commentary praising US President Donald Trump for authorizing a military strike to eliminate Iranian General Qassem Soleimani.

“President Trump has freed the world of a monster whose aim in life was an atomic cloud over Tel Aviv. Trump has acted in self-defense – the self-defense of the US and all peace-loving people,” wrote Reichelt.

He added that “the Iranian terror godfather Qassem Soleimani stood for a world that no peace-loving person can want: a world in which you can be torn apart by a bomb at any time because you are in the wrong place at the wrong time.”

The commentary singled out Soleimani’s scorched-earth campaign in the Syrian war: “A world in which entire cities are wiped out – like Aleppo. In which bloodthirsty militia go from door to door and execute civilians.”

Reichelt noted the potential of Iran’s regime to carry out terrorism in Germany and Israel, “in which the kindergartens in Germany could burn up in fireballs at any time because its children are Jewish. In which Israel is under threat of extinction every day.” (Read more from “Soleimani Was a Monster, Wanted Atomic Cloud Over Tel Aviv” HERE)

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I Saw Qasem Soleimani’s Brand of Evil Firsthand — It’s Worse Than You Could Possibly Imagine

By CBN News. Just how evil was Tehran’s former top terror chief, Qasem Soleimani? While reporting in Iraq in 2015, I came face to face with his brand of terrorism and it’s been seared in my mind ever since. . .

I met the family in the above picture at an IDP camp outside of Erbil, Iraq. The father explained their desperate situation, homeless because of the latest ISIS reign of terror.

His body was severely burned, his son lay silent on the cot in the tent. When we asked about these things, he explained how Iranian Shia militias had killed his wife, tortured him and his children, including his young boy. The militias, who would have been under the control of Qasem Soleimani, proceeded to drill holes in the boy’s legs as a means to further threaten the father. . .

Qasem Soleimani was in charge of about 15,000 in Iran’s Quds force, which is mainly responsible for “military” operations that take place out of the country. . .

While it is perfectly understandable to be concerned about what happens next with Iran, it’s hard to look at it as anything but positive that Soleimani is no longer walking the face of this planet. (Read more from “I Saw Qasem Soleimani’s Brand of Evil Firsthand — It’s Worse Than You Could Possibly Imagine” HERE)

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Iran’s General Replacing Soleimani Vows Revenge for U.S. Killing

By Fox News. Esmail Ghaani, the Iranian general taking over for Qassem Soleimani, told state television Monday that “actions will be taken” to revenge the death of his predecessor.

Since Soleimani’s killing last week, Iran has issued a series of threats to the U.S.

President Trump has responded by vowing that any Iranian strike would be perhaps met with a “disproportionate” response.

“God the almighty has promised to get his revenge, and God is the main avenger,” Ghaani said, according to the Associated Press. “Certainly actions will be taken.”

Ghaani, 62, is the new leader of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps’ elite Quds Force. He had served as Soleimani’s deputy commander since 1997 – and the Treasury Department says he has used his power to direct funding toward terrorist groups like Hezbollah. (Read more from “Iran’s General Replacing Soleimani Vows Revenge for U.S. Killing” HERE)
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Iran offers $80million bounty for Donald Trump’s head after death of general

By Milo Boyd. An $80million bounty has been placed on Donald Trump’s head in Iran in the wake of General Qasem Soleimani’s assassination.

During the televised funeral, an unidentified eulogist speaking on official state television said one US dollar should be tabled for every Iranian in the country, with the cash going to whoever killed the US President.

“Iran has 80 million inhabitants. Based on the Iranian population, we want to raise $80million (£61million) which is a reward for those who get close to the head of President Trump,” it was announced . . . (Read more about Iran’s threatened revenge HERE)

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U.S. General Says We’re Leaving Iraq, Defense Secretary Says Not so Fast

By Daily Wire. The United States military has informed Iraq this week that it is preparing to “move out” of the country, according to an official letter. . .

President Donald Trump stated over the weekend that if Iraq forces the U.S. military to leave that it will be hit very tough sanctions.

“We have a very extraordinarily expensive air base that’s there,” Trump said of Iraq. “It cost billions of dollars to build. Long before my time. We’re not leaving unless they pay us back for it.”

“If they do ask us to leave, if we don’t do it in a very friendly basis, we will charge them sanctions like they’ve never seen before ever. It’ll make Iranian sanctions look somewhat tame,” Trump continued. “If there’s any hostility, that they do anything we think is inappropriate, we are going to put sanctions on Iraq, very big sanctions on Iraq.” (Read more from “Report: U.S. Forces Preparing Rapid Withdrawal out of Iraq” HERE)

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‘Mistake’: Pentagon Says Iraq Withdrawal Letter Was Not Authorized

By Politico. The Pentagon on Monday disputed that U.S. troops are preparing to withdraw from Iraq — after a leaked letter from a U.S. general suggested plans are underway to prepare troops to leave following the Iraqi Parliament’s Sunday vote calling for their removal.

The misfire added yet another layer of confusion to an already murky situation days after the region erupted in response to the U.S. drone attack that killed Iranian military leader Qassem Soleimani at the Baghdad airport. It also raised new questions about the Pentagon’s intentions as it faces new threats from Iranian militias in Iraq even as it seeks to defeat the remnants of the Islamic State terrorist group.

Defense Secretary Mark Esper and Army Gen. Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, took the usual step of holding an impromptu question-and-answer session with reporters at the Pentagon after media outlets reported a top US. general on Monday informed an Iraqi counterpart that American personnel are initiating steps for a possible withdrawal. . .

But Milley, agreeing the letter was a “mistake,” told reporters it was only a draft and had not been sent. He said he had just spoken to Gen. Kenneth McKenzie, the head of U.S. Central Command, about it.

(Read more from “‘Mistake’: Pentagon Says Iraq Withdrawal Letter Was Not Authorized” HERE)

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U.S. Informs Iraqi Government About Repositioning of Coalition Forces

By NPR. Secretary of Defense Mark Esper announced on Monday that some forces are being repositioned inside Iraq, not leaving the country.

Two other U.S. officials told NPR that some are going to Kuwait temporarily.

The troop movement — signaled by heavy helicopter traffic out of a U.S. base in central Baghdad — was coupled with confusion about a letter sent by the U.S. military to Iraqi officials. That letter said the movements were in response to the Iraqi call for U.S. forces to leave the country, and the letter implied a withdrawal was underway. Late Monday, Gen. Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told reporters that the letter was “poorly worded.” . . .

The Pentagon press office underscored the message, saying in a tweet, “There has been no change in US policy with regard to our force presence in Iraq. We continue to consult with the Iraqi government regarding the defeat-ISIS mission and efforts to support the Iraqi Security Forces.”

(Read more from “U.S. Informs Iraqi Government About Repositioning of Coalition Forces” HERE)

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