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Iran attacks US targets in Iraq — as it happened

January 8, 2020

Iran has launched ballistic missiles targeting the US presence in Iraq, including Ain Assad airbase. With no casualties, US President Trump has said "Iran appears to be standing down." Read events as they happened.

A U.S. Marine with 2nd Battalion, 7th Marines, assigned to the Special Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force-Crisis Response-Central Command (SPMAGTF-CR-CC) 19.2, stands post during the reinforcement of the Baghdad Embassy Compound in Iraq
Image: picture-alliance/ZUMAPRESS/US Marines
  • Iran's Revolutionary Guards launched 22 ballistic missiles at two US targets in Iraq in retaliation for the killing of Quds Force leader Qassem Soleimani.
  • US President Donald Trump confirmed there were no casualties from Wednesday's attack. "To the people of Iran, the United States is ready to embrace peace with all who seek it," he said.
  • Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif said Tehran "concluded proportionate measures in self-defense" after the second wave of missiles. Ayatollah Ali Khamenei described the missile attack as a "slap in the face" to the US.

Read more: Why the US and Iran are not at war

All updates in Coordinated Universal Time (UTC)

23:59 This concludes our live coverage. Thank you for following along for the latest on the US-Iran conflict. Make sure to come back to dw.com as we cover the biggest stories from across the globe. An analysis of Wednesday's attacks and their aftermath can be found here.

23:54 Iraqi authorities said two small rockets fell within Baghdad's heavily-fortified Green Zone, home to embassies and government buildings. Although there were no casualties, one of the rockets landed about 100 meters away from the US Embassy. 

22:53 Iran's UN Ambassador Majid Takht Ravanchi said Tehran would respond to "any further military adventurism against it." He said Iran's ballistic missiles operation "was precise and targeted military objectives thus leaving no collateral damage to civilians and civilian assets in the area."

22:16 Populist Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr has issued a stand-down order for his Mahdi Army. He had ordered the notorious militia to regroup following the killing of Quds Force leader Qassem Soleimani.

"The crisis has passed, especially after the statements from Trump and Iran," al-Sadr said. "I call on the Iraqi factions to be deliberate, patient and not to start military actions, and to shut down the extremist voices of some rogue elements until all political, parliamentary and international methods have been exhausted."

Read more: Who is Muqtada al-Sadr, Iraq's influential Shiite cleric?

Supporters of radical Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr shoot their guns in the air as they hoist a picture of al-Sadr to honour Majid Kassim who was killed in the fighting in Najaf, during a traditional celebration of fallen soldiers in the Shiite strong hold of Sadr city in Baghdad
The US views al-Sadr as a key Iranian ally in Iraq. He is best known for leading a vicious insurgency against US troops in the wake of the 2003 invasion of Iraq. Image: picture-alliance/K. Kadim

22:07 US Defense Secretary Mark Esper said Washington has restored a "level of deterrence" with Iran. He said there was little damage from the missiles, with targets including tents and a parking lot.

22:01 Jürgen Hardt, foreign policy spokesman for Germany's ruling Christian Democratic Union, told DW that Europe must continue to uphold the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, better known as the Iran nuclear deal.

Hardt: JCPOA can be improved

"We have to continue to negotiate on it," Hardt told DW. "Iran is not only planning to have a nuclear bomb, they are also developing missiles to transport those bombs."

"I see a chance to negotiate," he added.

Last week, Iran announced it would drop additional restrictions on its nuclear program after the US killing Quds Force leader Qassem Soleimani.

21:00 Two loud blasts have been heard in Baghdad. Two rockets are reported to have landed in the Green Zone, the high-security enclave that houses foreign embassies in the Iraqi capital, just before midnight local time. The sound of the blasts was followed by the wailing of security sirens.

18:36 US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo tweeted regarding the Ukrainian passenger jet that crashed this morning shortly after taking off from Tehran. He refrained from commenting on the circumstances, albeit calling for an international investigation, and offered his sympathies to the families and friends of those that perished.

18:15 Iraqi Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr is hoping for a calmer immediate future and called on militia groups not to carry out attacks.

"I call on the Iraqi factions to be deliberate, patient, and not to start military actions, and to shut down the extremist voices of some rogue elements until all political, parliamentary and international methods have been exhausted," he said.

17:23 British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab is now in the same city as Trump, having touched down in Washington "for a day of valuable talks with senior members of Congress ahead of [a] meeting with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo."

16:45 His full speech was a shade under 10 minutes and can be viewed below.

16:39 And with that, the president exits the stage.

16:38 Trump concludes: "Finally, to the people of Iran, the United States is ready to embrace peace with all who seek it. God Bless America."

16:37 "Tens of thousands of ISIS fighters have been killed or captured during my administration."

16:36 The president has promised new sanctions on Iran.

16:35 "Today I am going to ask NATO to become more involved in peace in the Middle East," Trump continues.

16:34 Trump has called on Germany, the UK and France, among others, to step away from the landmark 2015 nuclear deal.

16:33 US President Donald Trump says the nation should be "grateful" that no Americans were hurt in last night's Iranian missile attacks on two military bases in Iraq.

16:32 On the killing of Qassem Soleimani, Trump says the Iranian general had "blood on his hands" and he was planning to carry out more attacks.

16:31 "For too long, nations have tolerated Iran's behavior," Trump continues.

16:30 "Iran appears to be standing down."

16:29 "No Americans nor Iraqis were killed in last night's attack," Trump adds.

16:28 "As long as I am president, Iran will never be allowed to have a nuclear weapon," Trump begins.

16:27 Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and vice president Mike Pence have emerged, in a show of unity.

16:20 While we wait for the president's views, why not check out this piece on how the moderate Iranian retaliation may mean the calming of tensions: Opinion: Tehran's moderate retaliation paves way for de-escalation

16:13 Trump was due to speak to reporters at 11:00 a.m. (4 p.m. UTC) but he has yet to arrive. As soon as he speaks, we will have updates.

16:02 The key question is whether the president will be looking for a de-escalation of tensions or whether he repeats the aggressive rhetoric of his tweets in recent days.

15:50 US President Donald Trump is set to make a statement shortly on the latest developments in the Middle East. His comments will be documented live, here, as he speaks in a few minutes. His address will take place at the White House. It will be the first time he has spoken since the Iran missile strikes.

15:04 The United Nations said Iraq should not have to "pay the price" for the tensions between Iran and the US.

The UN mission in Iraq said in a statement that the latest missile strikes "again violate Iraqi sovereignty" and added: "We call for urgent restraint and a resumption of dialogue. Iraq should not pay the price for external rivalries."

14:50 British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has described Iran's missile attack as "reckless and dangerous."

Johnson also said Qassem Soleimani, the Iranian general killed in a US airstrike last week, "had the blood of British troops on his hands."

14:36 Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has spoken. Ankara wants to "uses every means available" to avoid a new conflict. "At this critical period of war drums being played, we are trying to ease tensions, using all diplomacy channels," Erdogan stated.

"Nobody has the right to throw the whole region, particularly Iraq, into a new ring of fire," he added. Turkey does not want the region to be "a stage for proxy wars."

Read more: Turkey begins deploying troops to Libya, says Erdogan

12:57 DW's Teri Schultz said that the EU has an "important role to play" going forward as they have an "open dialogue" with the Iranian regime.

12:52 Germany's largest airline Lufthansa said it would resume flights to Tehran on Thursday after earlier canceling its daily flight from Frankfurt to Iran on Wednesday.

12:47 Oil and gold prices have risen slightly in light of the latest developments in the US-Iran tensions. Oil later trimmed gains when Iran said it had "concluded" its missile attacks for now.

12:40 NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg tweeted that he condemns the attack.

"NATO calls on Iran to refrain from further violence. Allies continue to consult and remain committed to our training mission in Iraq," he tweeted.

NATO member Spain announced earlier that they were withdrawing some troops from the region.

12:29 UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has called for "urgent de-escalation" in Iran. He added that the Iran nuclear deal was still necessary.

"[Trump] should be in absolutely no doubt ... that we are determined to guarantee, with everything that we can, the safety and security of the people of Iraq," he added, dismissing claims that he would fall into line with Trump.

11:36 Tyson Barker of the Aspen Institute, a German NGO that promotes international dialogue, told DW that Iran's death count of 80 is "probably not credible."

11:21 Kuwait's state news agency KUNA reported that the US had sent a letter to Kuwait's defense minister saying they would be withdrawing all troops from Kuwait within three days — but KUNA were quick to say that their Twitter account had been hacked and the US withdrawal was not true.
Over 13,000 US troops are based in Kuwait.

11:00 This map shows the sites of the military bases in Iraq targeted by Iran: the Irbil military base and the Ain Assad, or Ain Al Assad, air base. There are still conflicting reports about number of casualties and amount of damage done, almost 12 hours after the missiles landed.

US-led coalition military bases in Iraq
US-led coalition military bases in Iraq

10:25 Ayatollah Khameinei tweeted that the missile strike was "very good" and reaffirmed that "this region won't accept the US presence."

10:17 Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi has said Iraq was warned about the missile attack on Iraqi soil shortly after midnight. He confirmed again that Iraq has no reports of casualties from Iraqi military or from the US-led coalition. He called on both sides to exercise caution to avoid "a devastating all-out war."

"We received an official verbal message from the Islamic Republic of Iran that the Iranian response to the assassination of Qassem Soleimani had begun or would begin shortly, and that the strike would be limited to where the US military was located in Iraq without specifying the locations," his office said.

10:09 German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas has called for "prudence and restraint" from all sides to avoid de-escalation.

"We call on Iran to refrain from any steps that could lead to further escalation," Maas said in Berlin.

10:07 Both Italy and Norway have confirmed that none of their troops stationed in Iraq were injured.

09:58 The entire text of the Iranian statement on what they have dubbed "Operation Martyr Soleimani" says they "fired dozens of ground-to-ground missiles at the invading air base of the terrorist army of the American aggressor... Ain al-Assad, and crushed this base."

It also described the US as "the Great Satan, the vicious and arrogant American regime."

09:28 Iranian Defense Minister Amir Hatami has said the missile attack had been a "proportional response" to the killing of Soleimani.

"We used short range missiles [...] I hope this will be a memorable lesson for America," said Hatami. "Iran's response to any US retaliation will be proportional to what America will do."

Read more: Opinion: Trump has Europeans caught in a trap

09:20 Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has reaffirmed his country's alliance with the US and threatened retribution for any future attack on Israel.

"Whoever tries to attack us will be dealt the strongest blow," Netanyahu said in Jerusalem. He added that Israel stood "completely beside" US President Donald Trump's decision to kill Iranian General Soleimani, and that Trump should be congratulated for acting "swiftly, boldly and resolutely." 

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin NetanyahuImage: dpa

09:13 EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen is due in London today to discuss Brexit negotiations with UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson — but the use of weapons will also be on the agenda. 

She confirmed before departing that she would be discussing how to best end the use of weapons in the area in her talks with Johnson.

"The use of weapons must stop NOW to give space for dialogue," she tweeted.

09:09 The European Union has announced that they will "spare no efforts" to de-escalate tensions in the region and to save the Iran nuclear deal.

"The latest rocket attack on airbases in Iraq used by US and coalition forces, among them European, is yet another example of escalation and increased confrontation," said EU Commission Vice-President Josep Borrell.

"It is in no one's interest to turn up the spiral of violence even further,'' he added.

09:06 German airline Lufthansa has canceled its one flight from Frankfurt to Tehran scheduled for Wednesday, saying the move was "precautionary" given current events in the region.

Air France also suspended all flights in Iraqi and Iranian airspace.

Ayatollah Ali Khamenei addresses crowds
Ayatollah Ali Khamenei addresses crowdsImage: picture-alliance/abaca/SalamPix

09:01 Ayatollah Khamenei, apparently back on Twitter, has tweeted "Such military actions are not enough."

08:58 Germany plans to initiate a meeting of all 13 nations involved in the international military operation in the Middle East to discuss the latest developments and see what steps should be taken-

08:54 This map shows how many US troops are currently based in the Middle East. Iran wants the US to remove their military presence from Iran and the region entirely. 

US military operations in the Middle East
US military operations in the Middle East

08:31 Iraqi journalist Amir Musawy has told DW that Trump's retaliation will likely be based on the number of casualties.

08:24 Germany condemned the attacks by Iran, German Defense Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer said.

"The German government strongly condemns this aggression ... it is now primarily up to the Iranians to refrain from further escalation," she said.

"Above all, it is now up to the Iranians not to carry out any further escalation, and so this appeal is directed particularly at Tehran," she added. She also confirmed that no German soldiers were harmed in the attacks.

08:13 “Even if there are no casualties this is a significant response," Iranian journalist Reza Khaasteh told DW. He also explained that Khameinei's speech focused mainly on hammering home the message that the US had to leave the region.

"Washington might have cut off the arm of General Qassem Soleimani, but Iran would cut off the leg of the US," Khameinei said.

Twitter also seems to have disabled Khameinei's account.

07:37 Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei in an address to the nation said the "US is Iran's enemy."

He described the attack on the US targets as a "slap in the face" to the US. Crowds whom he addressed chanted "Death to America!" and "Death to Israel!"

A man holds up a sign with a picture of General Soleimani in tehran
As dawn breaks in Tehran, Iranians celebrate the Iranian missile strikesImage: Reuters/WANA/N. Tabatabaee

07:26 Following the lead of the US Federal Aviation Authority, many commercial airlines have announced they are rerouting flights crossing the Middle East today, including Qantas and Malaysia Airlines.

07:20 "The US media has quoted US officials and said there are no indications of US casualties," said DW's Washington DC correspondent Pablo Foley Elias. "Let's not speculate; let's see what comes out of the investigations."

Previously, Iran claimed that 80 "American terrorists" had been killed in the missile strikes.

07:09 Poland have reported no casualties among their military personnel in Iraq.

07:08 On this day where Iran seems unlikely to leave the headlines, a 4.5 magnitude earthquake has hit Iran near a major power plant near the city of Borazjan, according to the US Geological Survey. There is no information yet of damage done or casualties.

07:01 UK Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab has condemned the Iranian missile attack.

"We condemn this attack on Iraqi military bases hosting Coalition — including British — forces," he said.

"We are concerned by reports of casualties." The UK has not yet confirmed potential British casualties.

06:56 US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has spoken to Masrour Barzani, prime minister of the Kurdish Regional Government, about the Iranian missile attacks, a US government spokesman said.

"The Secretary and Prime Minister Barzani agreed to stay in close touch as the situation develop," said spokesperson Morgan Ortagus. Barzani previously tweeted about the conversation.

06:35 For a recap of the events that came after the US killing of Iranian General Qassem Soleimani, have a look at our timeline here.

06:26 Dubai-based Emirates Airline has canceled flights into Baghdad.

"We are carefully monitoring the developments and are in close contact with the relevant government authorities with regards to our flight operations, and will make further operational changes if required," said an Emirates spokesman.

06:19 Iraqi military has confirmed that the missile attack took place, and says there were no Iraqi casualties.

"Iraq was subjected between 1:45 and 2:45 this morning of January 8 2020 to bombardment by 22 missiles; 17 missiles fell on Ain Assad air base including two that did not explode ... and five on the city of Irbil that all fell on coalition headquarters. No casualties among Iraqi forces were recorded," said an Iraqi statement.

Lights were seen on in the White House late into the night US time
Lights were seen on in the White House as the world awaits a statement from President TrumpImage: picture-alliance/AP Photo/A. Brandon

06:00 If you're just joining our live updates, scroll down to the start to see how events are unfolding. Here are the main facts:

  • Iranian forces launched two waves of ballistic missiles targeting the US presence in Iraq. Iran claims that 80 "American terrorists" were killed while the US is still assessing casualties and damage.
  • The missiles struck the Ain Assad airbase, which hosts the largest US deployment in Iraq, along with a military installation hosting international forces near Irbil.
  • US President Donald Trump tweeted that "All is well" and "So far, so good" and is preparing to deliver a speech from the Oval Office.

05:47 An Iranian general speaking on state TV renewed calls for all US military to withdraw from the Middle East.

"Now that they have understood our power, it is time for the United States to withdraw its troops from the Middle East," said armed forces chief of staff General Mohammad Baqeri in a statement.

05:42 Denmark confirmed that the 130 soldiers they have based at the Ain Assad airbase are not hurt or killed.

05:35 A reminder that no flights by US carriers will be entering Iraqi or Iranian airspace today after a Notice to Airmen by the US Federal Aviation Authority.

05:30 At least 80 US "terrorists" were killed in the missile attack, Iranian state TV has announced. They claim 15 missiles were launches and that they have 100 other US targets in sight if the US takes any retaliatory measures. No missiles were intercepted, a government spokesman added.

Trump's tweet that "All is well" is an attempt to "downplay the US casualties," Iran said.

05:15 The Philippine government, after already ordering a mandatory evacuation of citizens from Iraq, announced that they will send a vessel to the Middle East to ferry citizens to safety in case hostilities between the US and Iran worsen.

04:45 The Indian governments has warned its citizens against non-essential travel to Iraq.

04:43 Iranian government spokesman Ali Rabiei tweeted that although Tehran does not want war with the US, it will wage it in self defense.

"We have never wanted war, but any aggression will receive a crushing response," Rabiei said in a Farsi-language tweet.

04:23 Iran's Revolutionary Guard has issued another warning against US retaliation.

"Americans know now that their bases can be targeted by Iran," the Revolutionary Guard said, according to state TV. "Their bases will be targeted if the United States responds to Iran's missile attacks in Iraq."

04:21 Japanese Chief Cabinet spokesman Yoshihide Suga said Tokyo "will coordinate with the related governments to collect intelligence while we ensure the safety of Japanese citizens in the region."

"Japan will also urge all related nations to do their utmost diplomatic effort to improve the relations."

04:18 A Ukrainian Boeing passenger plane has crashed after taking off from Tehran airport. It is unclear if there is any connection to the unfolding events between the US and Iran.

Read more: Ukrainian Boeing passenger plane crashes near Tehran: Iranian media

04:04 US security posture in the United Arab Emirates remains unchanged, according to a US Embassy spokesperson.

03:59 The Philippines Foreign Ministry ordered a mandatory evacuation of its citizens from Iraq. 

"The Alert Level in the entire Iraq has been raised to Alert Level 4 calling for mandatory evacuation," said Foreign Ministry spokesman Eduardo Menez.

03:32 A senior adviser to Iran's president has warned that further US retaliation would trigger war.

"Any adverse military action by the US will be met with an all out war across the region," said Hessameddin Ashena. "The Saudis, however, could take a different path — they could have total peace."

03:27 Australian and New Zealand officials have said their respective military personnel deployed in Iraq are safe.

03:24 FlightRadar24, which tracks the live movement of flights, said "a few carriers are rerouting their flights today to avoid either Iraq or Iran." The airlines include British Airways and Kuwait Airways. The update comes as US aviation authorities banned US civil carriers from operating over Iran, Iraq and parts of the Persian Gulf.

03:09 Iraqi journalist Amir Musawy told DW that the Trump administration's retaliation is likely contingent on the fallout of the Iranian attack.

"It depends on the casualties on the American side," Musawy said.

02:51 US President Trump tweeted "All is well!"

"Missiles launched from Iran at two military based located in Iraq," Trump said. "Assessment of casualties and damages taking place now."

"So far, so good! We have the most powerful and well equipped military anywhere in the world, by far! I will be making a statement tomorrow morning."

02:42 Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif said Tehran has concluded its retaliation for the killing of a top Iranian general.

"Iran took and concluded proportionate measures in self-defense under Article 51 of UN Charter targeting base from which cowardly armed attack against our citizens and senior officials were launched," Zarif said in a tweet.

"We do no seek escalation or war, but will defend ourselves against any aggression."

02:30 Iranian General Qassem Soleimani has officially been buried in Kerman following Iran's attack on US targets in Iraq. The burial was postponed on Tuesday after over 50 people were killed in a stampede as they attended his funeral.

02:14 Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is expected to cancel an official visit to Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Oman scheduled for the weekend. He has convened a Nation Security Conference meeting in a likely bid to discuss the fallout of Iran's attack, according to Japanese media.

02:05 Markets in Japan and China have taken a downward turn on news of Iran's retaliation against the US for the killing of Quds Force leader Qassem Soleimani.

01:47 If you're just tuning in, here's a brief rundown of the latest.

  • Iranian forces launched two waves of ballistic missiles targeting the US presence in Iraq. The US is still assessing casualties and damage.
  • The missiles struck the Ain Assad airbase, which hosts the largest US deployment in Iraq, along with a military installation hosting international forces near Irbil.
  • US President Donald Trump is preparing to deliver a speech from the Oval Office, according to White House aides.

Read more: US and Iran: Decades of enmity

01:42 The US Federal Aviation Authority issued emergency restrictions for Persian Gulf airspace, citing "potential for miscalculation or misidentification."

01:34 Iran has threatened to strike Dubai and Haifa in Israel if the US responds to its ballistic missiles attack, NBC's Tehran correspondent reported.

01:32 Iran's Revolutionary Guard urged the US to withdraw troops from the region "in order to avoid further losses and not to allow the lives of their soldiers to be further threatened by the ever-growing hatred" of the US.

01:14 Holly Dagres, an Iranian-American political analyst and Atlantic Council non-resident fellow, offers a sobering take on the situation.

"If Trump doesn't retaliate, then this doesn't escalate further (for the time being)," said Dagres in a tweet. "If Trump retaliates, then the Iranians retaliate. Then Trump retaliates again ... And that's how you get a war."

01:08 Fighter jets have taken off from Iranian air bases, according to state media.

01:07 US President Trump is preparing to give a speech from the Oval Office.

01:05 Baghdad-based journalist Pesha Magid told DW that the Iran is in a "fairly weak position" despite its military power given US sanctions.

01:01 Iran's Revolutionary Guard has warned US regional allies "they will be attacked if used for attacks against Tehran," according to Iranian state media.

Read more: What is Iran's Revolutionary Guard?

00:56 A CNN correspondent is saying "casualties among the Iraqis at Ain Assad airbase," citing an Iraqi security source.

00:52 US Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, said she is "closely monitoring the situation following bombings targeting US troops in Iraq."

"We must ensure the safety of our servicemembers, including ending needless provocations from the Administration and demanding that Iran cease its violence," Pelosi said. "America and world cannot afford war."

00:47 The Bundeswehr, Germany's armed forces, said German troops stationed in Iraq are safe.

"We are in contact with the soldiers," a Bundeswehr spokesperson told Deutsche Presse-Agentur. "The soldiers are fine."

00:43 A US military installation near Irbil was hit by rocket fire. It is the facility believed to be hosting international partners of the anti-"Islamic State" coalition, including Bundeswehr soldiers. Germany withdrew most troops out of Iraq on Tuesday.

No word on casualties or damage yet.

A picture published by the media office of the Iraqi military's joint operations forces on their official Facebook page shows a destroyed vehicle on fire following a US strike on January 3, 2020 on Baghdad international airport road in which top Iranian commander Qasem Soleimani was killed along with eight others, including the deputy head of Iraq's powerful Hashed al-Shaabi paramilitary force
Qassem Soliemani's death marked a turning point for US-Iran tensionsImage: AFP/Iraqi Military

Read more: Germany partially withdraws troops from Iraq

00:21 The Pentagon said it "will take all necessary measures to protect and defend US personnel, partners and allies in the region."

00:18 Iran's Revolutionary Guard claims the Ain Assad air base hosting US troops is "completely destroyed." 

00:17 A US official said ballistic missiles hit a US military installation near Irbil.

00:15 A senior Iranian official tweeted an image of the Iranian flag in an apparent jab at US President Donald Trump's tweet following the killing of Iranian General Qassem Soleimani. 

00:14 Iranian media have reported a second wave of missiles.

00:11 The Pentagon said more than dozen ballistic missiles were launched against US targets in Iraq.

00:07 Earlier this week, US President Donald Trump ordered the killing of Quds Force chief Qassem Soleimani and Iraq's Popular Mobilization Units (PMU) deputy leader Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, according to the Pentagon.

The attack came after Iran-backed PMU supporters stormed the US embassy in Baghdad in protest of a US airstrike that killed PMU militiamen. The US had defended its actions, saying it was in retaliation for PMU elements launching rockets at US troops in Irbil.

Iranian officials had threatened a heavy response for Soleimani's killing.

Read more: Germany seeks talks with Iran to ease tensions

Each evening at 1830 UTC, DW's editors send out a selection of the day's hard news and quality feature journalism. You can sign up to receive it directly here.

ed, ls, jsi/stb (Reuters, AP, AFP, dpa)

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