Tensions in the middle-east have risen considerably, since US airstrikes hit Baghdad, on Thursday, eliminating top Iranian commander Qasem Soleimani, along with the leader of Iraq's Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF) Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis.
US President Donald Trump, who ordered the strikes, took to Twitter and warned Iran, further, that in case of an attack on US interests, America would hit '52' Iranian sites. Trump, on Friday had said that the airstrikes were carried out to 'stop a war and not to start one'.
What did the US President say?
Replying to threats by Iranian leaders, the American leader took to Twitter and said, "Iran has been nothing but problems for many years. Let this serve as a WARNING that if Iran strikes any Americans or American assets, we have targeted 52 Iranian sites".
And why did he quote such a specific figure-'52'? In 1979, '52' Americans were held hostage for 444 days in the US embassy in Tehran. Trump, further threatened that those 52 sites include places "very high level & important to Iran & the Iranian culture" and "Iran itself, WILL BE HIT VERY FAST AND VERY HARD".
On Saturday evening, an unclaimed rocket attack was carried out inside Baghdad's heavily fortified Green Zone near the US Embassy, another hit the nearby Jadriya neighbourhood and two more were fired at the Balad air base north of the city. No one was killed in the attack, Reuters reported.
Earlier, a senior Islamic Revolutionary Guard General Gholamali Abuhamzeh had threatened to attack '35' American targets, in retaliation to Soleimani's assassination. He had said, "The Strait of Hormuz is a vital point for the West and a large number of American destroyers and warships cross there. Vital American targets in the region have been identified by Iran for a long time ago. Some 35 US targets in the region, as well as Tel Aviv, are within our reach".
Iran sits over Strait of Hormuz
Iran sits over Strait of Hormuz, the main oil checkpoint based on the amount of oil that flows through the strait. In 2018, its daily oil flow averaged 21 million barrels per day or the equivalent of about 21 percent of global petroleum liquids consumption.
A particular site that caught attention and suggests a possible Iranian retaliation is a red flag flown over the dome of the revered Jamkaran mosque, in the Shi'ite holy city of Qom. The red flag, according to Iranian tradition refers to a severe battle to come.