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Pentagon Says Indications Iran And Its Proxies Planning More Attacks

U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper speaks about airstrikes by the U.S. military in Iraq and Syria, at the Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Florida, December 29, 2019

Two days after an attack by thousands of Iran-backed militias on the U.S. embassy in Baghdad, Defense Secretary Mark Esper said Thursday there are indications same forces are planning more attacks.

"There are some indications out there that they may be planning additional attacks, that is nothing new right, we've seen this for two or three months now," Esper told reporters.

U.S. President Donald Trump threatened Iran hours after the attack on the embassy that it will be held responsible if any Americans are harmed or any damage is inflicted on U.S. facilities.

Iran has dismissed U.S. accusations that it was behind the incident in Baghdad, while many leaders of Iran-backed militia groups were seen present during the attack on the embassy.

Esper also issued a warning: "If that happens then we will act and by the way, if we get word of attacks or some type indication, we will take preemptive action as well to protect American forces to protect American lives."

"The provocative behavior has been out there for months... So do I think they may do something? Yes. And they will likely regret it," Esper told reporters.

He also pointed the finger at Iran, saying, "We are prepared to exercise self-defense, and we are prepared to deter further bad behavior from these groups, all of which are sponsored, directed and resourced by Iran."

With reporting by Reuters, AFP