Iran's top general Soleimani killed in US strike

By Jessie Yeung, Fernando Alfonso III, Tara John, Julia Hollingsworth, Rob Picheta, Mike Hayes, CNN

Updated 4:26 a.m. ET, January 4, 2020
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12:02 p.m. ET, January 3, 2020

Trump said years ago that Obama would start a war with Iran to win elections

From CNN's Leslie Bentz 

Prior to running for president, Donald Trump tweeted in 2011, 2012, and 2013 predicting that then–President Barack Obama would "play the Iran card in order to start a war in order to get elected."

Here are the tweets:


11:55 a.m. ET, January 3, 2020

Boston police taking extra security measures

The Boston Police Department is taking extra measures after the US airstrike that killed the Iranian commander. Police say they are increasing patrols, and there is no credible threat to the city at this time.

"While there is no credible threat to the City of Boston, the Boston Police Department continues to monitor events around the world. We will increase patrols to protect the city and the people that live in and visit our great city," the department said in a statement. "We continue to work with other law enforcement partners to keep our city safe. As always, we remind people to say something if they see something suspicious."

The decision by Boston comes after police departments in New York City and Los Angeles said they were also monitoring the situation in Iran following the death of Qasem Soleimani.

12:00 p.m. ET, January 3, 2020

Democratic senator says Trump must explain "shocking" killing of Soleimani

Olena Khudiakova/Barcroft Media/Getty Images
Olena Khudiakova/Barcroft Media/Getty Images

Sen. Chris Murphy from Connecticut, a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, called the targeted killing of Iranian General Qasem Soleimani “shocking… despite the fact that he unquestionably is responsible for the death of hundreds of Americans.”

Murphy said that the US should expect that Iran will respond disproportionately. 

He added that “it is incumbent upon the administration to come to congress and explain why they had to take this specific action in order to prevent harm to Americans abroad.”

12:06 p.m. ET, January 3, 2020

EU foreign affairs chief warns against "major scale confrontation" in Middle East

From CNN's Nada Bashir

Virginia Mayo/AP
Virginia Mayo/AP

Former European Union foreign affairs chief Federica Mogherini has called for “wisdom and rationality,” warning against a “major scale confrontation” in the Middle East.

“Hope that those who still believe in wisdom and rationality will prevail, that some of the diplomatic achievements of the past will be preserved, and that a major scale confrontation will be avoided,” Mogherini tweeted.

 “An extremely dangerous escalation in the Middle East,” she added.

11:48 a.m. ET, January 3, 2020

Trump has been surveying people on the airstrike this morning

From CNN's Kaitlan Collins

President Trump has been surveying people this morning about his authorization of a drone strike that killed Qasem Soleimani, according to multiple people familiar with his conversations.

In these talks, Trump has continued to fervently defend his decision, though some people he has spoken with have expressed hesitation about how Iran will respond and with the administration's larger strategy. 

Putting the attack in perspective: Trump's move dramatically ramps up regional tensions that have pitted Tehran against Washington and its allies in the Middle East. The Pentagon blamed Soleimani for hundreds of deaths of Americans and their allies in several attacks in recent months.

Soleimani had been involved in planning an "imminent attack" in the region that put American lives at risk, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told CNN on Friday. He said the US made an intelligence-based assessment that killing Soleimani would save Americans.

12:18 p.m. ET, January 3, 2020

Airlines are suspending flights to Baghdad

From CNN's Vasco Cotovio and Ghazi Balkiz

A Gulf Air Boeing aircraft approaches London Heathrow International Airport on October 10, 2019.
A Gulf Air Boeing aircraft approaches London Heathrow International Airport on October 10, 2019. Nicolas Economou/NurPhoto/Getty Images

Major airlines in the Middle East are suspending air travel in the region following the US attack that killed a top Iranian general.

Bahrain’s national airline Gulf Air has suspended all flights to and from Baghdad due to safety and security concerns, the airline announced in a tweet.

“Flights to and from Baghdad and Najaf in the Republic of Iraq have suspended until further notice due to safety and security issues,” the airline wrote in both English and Arabic on its twitter account.

Jordan’s Royal Jordanian Airlines has also suspended its flights to Baghdad until further notice because of the "unstable security situation in the city and at the airport," according to a report in the state-run publication Al-Rai.

AL-Rai's report said Royal Jordanian, which operates 18 flights per week between Amman and Baghdad, will continue to fly to the other Iraqi cities of Basra, Erbil Najaf and Sulaymaniyah.

11:31 a.m. ET, January 3, 2020

Trump administration will give classified briefing to Senate staffers today

From CNN's Manu Raju

Trump administration officials will brief key Senate staff on relevant committees on national security and appropriations, along with leadership staff, today at 12:30 p.m. ET in a classified setting, according to two sources.

The briefers are expected to be from the relevant agencies, including Defense, State and the office for the director of National Intelligence.  

With no votes scheduled today, members are not expected to be around, and it’s unlikely many will attend this briefing.

11:26 a.m. ET, January 3, 2020

European council president: Violence and "provocations" in Iraq must stop

From CNN's Nada Bashir

European Council President Charles Michel called for an end to violent and provocative action in Iraq, warning in a statement against a “flare-up of violence” in the region. 

“The cycle of violence, provocations and retaliations which we have witnessed In Iraq over the past few weeks has to stop,” Michel said, adding that “further escalations must be avoided at all costs.”

“The risk is a generalized flare-up of violence in the whole region and the rise of obscure forces of terrorism that thrive at times of religious and nationalist tensions,” Michel warned, reiterating that Iraq remains a “very fragile” country. 

Michel’s statement is the first collective response by the European Union following a US drone strike in Baghdad which killed Iran’s top military commander, Qasem Soleimani.

11:24 a.m. ET, January 3, 2020

Iran's security council says US strike is the "greatest strategic mistake"

Iran’s top security body, the Supreme National Security Council (SNSC), says the targeted killing of Qasem Soleimani was the United States’ “greatest strategic mistake." 

“America will not find an easy escape from being held to account for this miscalculation,” the SNSC added in a statement reported by Iran semiofficial news agency Fars News on Friday. “These criminals will face the harsh revenge of those who seek it, in the appropriate time and place.”

The SNSC went on to say that it “has adopted the appropriate decisions and hereby announces that the regime of the United States of America will bear responsibility for all the consequences of this criminal adventurism."