A top US general warned that Iran poses a “heightened risk” to America as the one year anniversary nears of the death of the Republic’s leading military commander in a drone strike, according to a report on Wednesday.
Gen. Kenneth “Frank” McKenzie, the head of US Central Command, said Iran or its proxies may retaliate for the Jan. 3 killing of Revolutionary Guards commander Gen. Qassem Soleimani in Baghdad.
“I do believe we remain in a period of heightened risk,” McKenzie told ABC News on Tuesday as he returned from a trip to Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan.
“I would just emphasize this key point: We’re not looking to escalate ourselves. We’re not looking for war with Iran, I really want to emphasize that,” McKenzie said.
Despite the heightened tensions between Tehran and Washington, he said, “It is my belief that Iran doesn’t want a war with the United States right now.”
“And I know for a fact that the United States doesn’t seek war with Iran,” he stressed.
McKenzie also addressed the “very concerning” rocket attack Sunday on the US Embassy in Baghdad in which one Iraqi civilian was killed.
No Americans were hurt in the attack.
“Launching over 20 rockets at the U.S. Embassy is certainly an escalation,” he said.
“We view this very seriously,” McKenzie said. “We conveyed our concern to the government of Iraq. We are there at their invitation; they have a responsibility to protect us, and I actually believe they take it very seriously.”
He said the investigation continues into who was behind the attack and noted that with so many missiles fired “there’ll be lots of evidence.”
President Trump explained at the time of Soleimani’s death near the Baghdad airport that the commander had to die because he had been instrumental in killing or wounding thousands of American troops and was “plotting to kill many more … but got caught.”