“Protecting from such threats is even more important now, as Iran, its agents and proxies are plotting ways to avenge the United States for the January 2020 killing of IRGC-QF Commander Qassem Soleimani,” Christine Abizaid, director of the National Counterterrorism Center, said during the hearing before US Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee.
Abizaid said the US had assessed that Iran-backed Hezbollah maintained a “high threshold” for carrying out attacks on America.
“(Hezbollah) Secretary General Hassan Nasrallah balances his organization’s view of the United States as one of its main enemies against possible US retaliation if the group decides to carry out an attack,” Abizaid added. Al Arabiya, Wednesday (22/9/2021).
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Soleimani was killed in a drone strike ordered by former President Donald Trump after the Iranian general was said to have planned attacks on US diplomats and military personnel.
The attack, carried out in Baghdad, also killed Abu Mehdi al-Muhandis, the deputy commander of Iraq’s Shi’ite militia, the Popular Mobilization Forces at the time.
“Iran views terrorism as a tool to support its main goals, including projecting power in the Middle East, defending Shia Islam, and deterring its strategic rivals,” Abizaid said.
Turning to Iraq, Abizaid suggested that Iran-backed Shia militias pose the most direct threat to US interests, citing drone attacks on US facilities there.