RNA - US Marine General Kenneth McKenzie, the head of the CENTCOM, made the remarks during a House Armed Services Committee hearing on Tuesday, Reuters reported.
“We are also in the process of bringing air defense systems, ballistic missile defense systems, into Iraq in particular, to protect ourselves against another potential Iranian attack,” he said.
On January 3, the US assassinated Lieutenant General Soleimani, commander of the Quds Force of Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps, Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, the second-in-command of Iraq’s Popular Mobilization Units (PMU), and a group of their companions in Baghdad.
The operation was conducted under direct orders of US President Donald Trump, while General Soleimani was on an official visit to the Iraqi capital.
Following the atrocity, Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei promised a “harsh revenge.”
On January 8, the IRGC launched retaliatory strikes against the US’s Ain al-Assad Airbase in the western Iraqi Anbar Province, and another outpost housing American forces in the semi-autonomous Iraqi Kurdistan region.
The US Defense Department said on February 21 that as many as 110 US forces had been diagnosed with traumatic brain injury following the reprisal. The figure was higher than the previous toll that had been announced on February 10.
The IRGC says what Washington claims to be related to brain injuries from the strikes on Ain al-Assad is “a metaphor for dead US troops.”
The Corps has also said by targeting the airbase, it destroyed the very outpost from which all of Washington’s regional terrorist operations, including the assassinations, would be planned and directed.
General Soleimani has earned reputation as the Middle East’s most revered anti-terror commander due to his indispensible contribution to regional counter-terrorism efforts, which led to Iraq and Syria’s defeating the Takfiri terror group of Daesh in late 2017.
Ayatollah Khamenei has described the revenge strikes as “only a slap.”
Iran blacklisted the CENTCOM as a terrorist organization last year after Washington made a similar move concerning the IRGC, which is Iran’s elite defense force.
Following the Iranian retaliation, the Pentagon said it was trying to secure permission from Iraq to take Patriot missile systems into the Arab country.
The Iraqi parliament, however, voted overwhelmingly after the assassinations in favor of a law obliging complete withdrawal of all American-led forces from the country’s soil.