Tensions Rise in the Middle East After U.S. Killing of Iranian Military Leader

President Trump’s decision to order an airstrike that killed a powerful Iranian military leader on Iraqi soil reverberated through the Middle East on Friday, with Tehran vowing to avenge the death of Maj. Gen. Qassem Soleimani and its allies in Iraq pressing to expel U.S. troops from the country. https://www.wsj.com/articles/u-s-strike-in-iraq-threatens-ties-with-vital-middle-east-ally-11578058413

US citizens urged to depart Iraq after airstrike kills Iranian commander

The State Department urged US citizens Friday to leave Iraq immediately following an airstrike ordered by President Donald Trump that killed Qasem Soleimani, a key Iranian military commander at Baghdad International Airport.

https://www.cnn.com/2020/01/03/politics/state-department-us-citizens-leave-iraq/index.html

U.S. to send 3,000 troops to Middle East after embassy attack, Soleimani killing

WASHINGTON — The United States is sending approximately 3,000 soldiers to the Middle East after thousands of people stormed the compound of the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad, three U.S. defense officials and one U.S. military official confirmed to NBC News on Friday.

The news came hours after an American airstrike killed Gen. Qassem Soleimani, the commander of Iran’s secretive Quds Force and one of the country’s most powerful figures, but U.S. defense officials said the deployments were not in response to the strike.

The deployment of additional soldiers from a brigade of the 82nd Airborne Division, based at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, comes after thousands of people, most of them affiliated with the Iran-backed Shiite militia group Kataeb Hezbollah, descended on the embassy compound Tuesday.

https://www.nbcnews.com/news/military/u-s-sending-thousands-more-troops-mideast-after-baghdad-attack-n1110081

Everything That Happened in Iran While You Were Sleeping

The U.S. assassinated a high-ranking Iranian official in a targeted airstrike at Baghdad International Airport in Iraq early Friday, local time. The strike killed Qassem Soleimani, a top Iranian general with the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, as well as at least seven other people. And now there’s concern that the killing could spark a significant military response from Iran.

President Donald Trump, who withdrew the U.S. from a peace deal with Iran in May of 2018, personally called for the assassination of Soleimani, according to multiple reports, and the strike was conducted by a U.S. drone.

Iranian TV played footage of people crying at the news of Soleimani’s death on Friday and Ayatollah Ahmad Khatami, an advisor to Iran’s supreme leader, said that U.S. troops would be wiped out from the region, calling them “insidious beasts.”

“I am telling Americans, especially Trump, we will take a revenge that will change their daylight into a nighttime darkness,” Khatami said on Friday.

https://gizmodo.com/everything-that-happened-in-iran-while-you-were-sleepin-1840784677

Pompeo says Trump made the world safer by killing top Iranian general Soleimani as the State Department tells Americans to flee Iraq

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told reporters Friday morning, just hours after the US military killed top Iranian general Qassem Soleimani, that “the world is a much safer place today” as allies and partners suggested otherwise and his own department advised Americans to flee Iraq.

“The world is a much safer place today,” the secretary said. “And I can assure you that Americans in the region are much safer today after the demise of Qassem Soleimani.”

His comments come as the Department of State urged American citizens in Iraq to leave immediately.

“Due to heightened tensions in Iraq and the region,” the US Embassy in Baghdad said in a security alert Friday, “the US Embassy urges American citizens to heed the January 2020 Travel Advisory and depart Iraq immediately.”

https://www.businessinsider.com/pompeo-says-world-safer-as-americans-told-to-flee-iraq-2020-1

Miami officer airlifted, 2 transported after crash on I-95 near Golden Glades Interchange

NORTH MIAMI-DADE, FLA. (WSVN) – An officer has been airlifted to the hospital after a serious crash in North Miami-Dade.

Florida Highway Patrol troopers and Miami-Dade Fire Rescue crews responded to the scene along the northbound lanes of Interstate 95 near the Golden Glades Interchange just before 7 a.m., Friday.

7SkyForce HD flew over the scene where a police cruiser with heavy front-end damage could be seen on a grassy area off the side of the roadway. Other officers were seen pulling the victim from their vehicle.

It is unclear what condition the City of Miami officer was airlifted in.

A dark gray vehicle with heavy back-end damage and its airbags deployed could be seen stopped on the left lanes.

It is unclear if the driver behind the wheel of the gray vehicle sustained any injuries.

All northbound lanes on Interstate 95 were shut down as air rescue responded to the scene, but as of 8 a.m. two right lanes reopened. The northbound lanes to Florida’s Turnpike and the Palmetto Expressway remain blocked off.

https://wsvn.com/news/local/miami-officer-airlifted-after-crash-on-i-95-near-golden-glades-interchange/

The Australian Navy Is Now Rescuing Hundreds of Wildfire Refugees Stranded on Beaches

The Australian Navy is working to evacuate stranded wildfire victims ahead of the weekend, when the already devastating blazes were forecast to get even worse.

The Royal Australian Navy rescued about 1,000 people who were trapped in the town of Mallacoota, Victoria which has been hit especially hard by the bushfires. A local MP, Darren Chester, told the BBC it was an “unprecedented mass relocation of civilians.”

Some 4,000 people were forced to flee to Mallacoota’s beaches on Monday, pushed out of their homes by a fire that blocked out the sun and painted the sky an apocalyptic red. With roads blocked, the Navy has taken around 60 people out by helicopter, while about 1,000 had signed up to be evacuated via boat, the BBC reported.

https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/xgqz53/australia-has-deployed-the-navy-to-rescue-fire-victims-who-are-stranded-on-beaches

Ohio sheriff hit by bullet from New Year’s celebratory gunfire

LIMA, Ohio — A sheriff escaped injury just minutes after the New Year when he was struck by a falling bullet from celebratory gunfire.

The bullet first struck the patrol car of Allen County Sheriff Matthew Treglia, then ricocheted, went through an open window and hit Treglia in the chest, USA Today reports. Treglia was wearing a bullet-proof vest, but officials say the bullet would have lost speed after hitting the patrol car.

The bullet passed inches from the face of a major who was with Treglia. The incident occurred in downtown Lima about five minutes after the New Year on Wednesday morning, limaohio.com reports. Video of the incident was posted on the department’s Facebook page.

“What goes up, must come back down,” the department’s Facebook post says. “Shooting any type of gun into the air is extremely dangerous and illegal. Please, handle any and all firearms safely and responsibly.”

https://www.cleveland.com/metro/2020/01/ohio-sheriff-hit-by-bullet-from-new-years-celebratory-gunfire.html

Trump Blames Iran After Protesters Attempt to Storm U.S. Embassy in Baghdad

BAGHDAD—President Trump blamed Iran after supporters of an Iran-backed militia tried to storm the U.S. Embassy in the Iraqi capital Tuesday, in an intensifying backlash against the U.S. after it conducted deadly strikes on the group. https://www.wsj.com/articles/protesters-attempt-to-storm-u-s-embassy-in-baghdad-11577787978