Trump White House sought strike plans against Iran

The US embassy in Baghdad Iraq seen from across the Tigris river

The Wall Street Journal is reporting that following a mortar attack on the USA embassy in Baghdad in September that was blamed on Iran, National Security Adviser John Bolton asked the Pentagon for options to strike the Islamic Republic. According to the Wall Street Journal, the request was made after several shells landed in Baghdad's green zone, near the United States embassy last September. "Any attack by Shia militias against US should be treated as an attack from Iran".

The source told the Wall Street Journal: "It definitely rattled people".

The report goes on to state that it is not known whether Trump was aware of the request. "People were shocked. It was mind-boggling how cavalier they were about hitting Iran".

John Bolton, the national security adviser, called a series of meetings after the attack - which one of Tehran's proxy militias in Iraq claimed responsibility for - and is believed to have asked the Pentagon to draw up options for bombing Iran.

There was also an air strike near a USA diplomatic facility in Basra, Iraq.

He has worked with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in implementing a more hardline approach to Iran since taking office.

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"We continue to review the status of our personnel following attempted attacks on our embassy in Baghdad and our Basra consulate, and we will consider a full range of options to preserve their safety and our interests", he said.

In one meeting, Bolton's then deputy Mira Ricardel, who was forced out of her job in November after a feud with First Lady Melania Trump, described the attacks in Iraq as "an act of war" and said the United States had to respond decisively, according to one person familiar with the meeting.

In a statement provided to CNN on Sunday, Garrett Marquis, a spokesman for the council, said that it "coordinates policy and provides the President with options to anticipate and respond to a variety of threats".

"America will respond swiftly and decisively in defence of American lives".

Mr Netanyahu said: "The accumulation of recent attacks proves that we are determined more than ever to take action against Iran in Syria, and we will strike harder in Syria if needed".

Pompeo told Fox News that dozens of countries would attend the summit which would aim to "build out the global coalition" opposed to Iranian policies in the region.

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