Rockets moved in range of U.S. troops
The current ramping up of U.S. military posturing against Iran was triggered by U.S. intelligence that showed Tehran-backed militias in Iraq moving rockets to locations that could hit bases where American troops are positioned in the nation, according to sources familiar with the intelligence.
Trump administration officials have said the Pentagon’s bumping up of the deployment last week of a U.S. aircraft carrier and bomber group to the region was justified by intelligence on threats of a potentially imminent attack by Iran on U.S. interests in Iraq, but have provided no specific details publicly.
However, a report on Wednesday said Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s surprise trip to Iraq earlier this month came after U.S. intelligence had picked up communications related to the movement of rockets in Iraq by Iran-backed militias there.
Mr. Pompeo told top Iraqi military officials during a sudden visit to Baghdad on May 7 that Iraqi forces needed to keep the Iran-backed militias in check, according to the report by Reuters, which cited two Iraqi security sources as saying the secretary of state warned that Washington would respond with force if the militias weren’t contained.