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Iranian mourners gather during the final stage of funeral processions for slain top general Qasem Soleimani, in his hometown Kerman on January 7, 2020. - Sputnik International

Live Updates: US Preparing for Possible Iran Response After Soleimani Murder as Quds Leader Buried

Earlier in the day, the US issued a warning to ships sailing through the waterways in the Middle East, saying there is "a possibility of Iranian action against US maritime interests in the region."

The US is preparing for a possible Iranian response after its top military commander Qasem Soleimani was killed in a US drone strike at Baghdad International Airport on 3 January. 

On Monday, CNN reported, citing an official, that the Pentagon had deployed six B-52 strategic bombers to Diego Carcia, an island base in the Indian Ocean, for potential use against Iran if ordered to do so.

Soon after the attack on Soleimani, Tehran vowed a response to what it called an act of "state terrorism" by the US. US President Donald Trump answered by saying that his country wants no threats and said that the US would 'hit fast and hard' in case Iran retaliates. 

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17:21 GMT 07.01.2020

Iraq has received a letter from the US army concerning the withdrawal of US troops from the country. Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi said on Tuesday, according to Reuters.

He added that the English and Arabic language versions of the letter are not identical, so Iraq requested clarifications.

On Monday, the Iraqi parliament passed a resolution requesting the withdrawal of all foreign troops from the country after its top military commander Qasem Soleimani was killed in a US drone strike in Baghdad on 3 January. 

American military convoy stops near the town of Tel Tamr, north Syria, Sunday, Oct. 20, 2019.  - Sputnik International
Mistakenly Sent Draft Letter Falsely Announces US Forces Preparing to Leave Iraq
16:06 GMT 07.01.2020

US National Security Adviser Robert O'Brien told reporters on Tuesday that he is unsure the Trump administration will declassify intelligence backing its decision to kill top Iranian commander Qasem Soleimani.

"I don't know if we're going to be able to do that or not because we don't want to put our sources and methods at risk, but we're taking a look at that, I can tell you that the evidence was strong," O'Brien said.

The national security adviser emphasised that the evidence is strong revealing Soleimani was plotting to attack US facilities hosting diplomats and troops.

O'Brien also said the US government is monitoring threats of retaliation from Iran closely.

15:54 GMT 07.01.2020
15:20 GMT 07.01.2020

France does not have plans to reduce the number of its troops in Iraq at the moment, Reuters reported, citing a French government source. 

However, security around the French troops in Iraq will be tightened, the source added, as quoted by the agency. 

As part of the international coalition to fight Daesh*, France has been providing training and logistical support to Iraqi and Kurdish forces. 

*Daesh (also known as IS/ISIS/ISIL/Islamic State) is a terrorist group banned in Russia.

15:13 GMT 07.01.2020

Europe needs to react to Iran's violations of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) and this must be discussed with France and Britain, Germany's Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said, as quoted by Reuters. 

14:41 GMT 07.01.2020

The death toll from a stampede during a funeral for Iranian top military commander Qasem Soleimani rose to 50, Iran's ISNA news agency reported, citing the coroner's office for Kerman province, Abbas Amian. 

13:45 GMT 07.01.2020

German Defence Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer said on Tuesday that Iran should avoid escalation in the Middle East after the US killing of Qasem Soleimani.

"I say clearly that Iran has been responsible for the escalation in the region and therefore it is Iran's responsibility to contribute to de-escalation," she said at a gathering of German conservatives in Bavaria, as quoted by Reuters. 

13:02 GMT 07.01.2020

The death toll from a stampede that happened Tuesday during the funeral of slain Iranian general Qasem Soleimani has risen to 40, media cited the head of the emergency services as saying.

"As of now, 40 our compatriots have died in this accident and 213 were injured," Pirhossein Kolivand was quoted as saying by the Fars news agency.

Huge crowds of mourners packed the streets of Kerman, the hometown of the fallen Quds Force commander, to pay their respects. This caused a stampede that initially claimed over 30 lives.

12:53 GMT 07.01.2020

Great Britain keeps the protection of its armed forces under constant review, a spokesman for Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Tuesday, in response to a question as to whether the government would withdraw troops from Iraq over tensions in the Middle East.

Prime Minister Johnson has held a meeting with leading cabinet ministers to discuss the situation in the Middle East caused by the US killing of Iran's military commander Qasem Soleimani.

According to Johnson's spokesman, the cabinet agreed that Soleimani was responsible for a pattern of destabilising behaviour in the region and was a threat to Britain's interests.

12:00 GMT 07.01.2020

"What we're looking to do is to de-escalate the tensions with Iran and make sure in relation to Iraq that we don't lose the hard-won gains that we secured against Daesh...We are concerned that if we see a full-blown war it would be very damaging and actually the terrorists, in particular, Daesh*, would be the only winners," Raab said as quoted by Reuters. 

11:57 GMT 07.01.2020

The killing of a top Iranian general by the United States was an act of state terrorism and Iran will respond proportionately, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif told CNN on Tuesday.

"This is state terrorism...This is an act of aggression against Iran, and it amounts to an armed attack against Iran, and we will respond. But we will respond proportionately," Zarif said. 

11:51 GMT 07.01.2020

The number of people injured in the stampede in the Iranian city of Kerman during the funeral procession of late Qasem Soleimani, the country's Revolutionary Guards’ elite Quds Force commander, killed by the United States last week, has grown to 190, with 32 people dead, the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB) reported on Tuesday, citing the head of the emergency services.

"Due to stampede, 32 people have died, 190 got injured. The injured have been sent to hospitals and medical centres, they are receiving medical treatment," Pir-Hossein Kolivand, the head of Iran's Emergency Medical Services Organization, said, as quoted by the IRIB.

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