Cyprus has said that it had accepted a request from the United States to keep a rapid response team on the island if any US diplomats or civilians needed to be evacuated. According to reports, Cyprus' decision comes after Iran's ballistic missile strike on US military and coalition forces bases in Iraq.
According to reports, spokesperson of Cyprus' government, Kyriacos Koushos, said that America's request was accepted only for 'humanitarian operations'. Koushos further added that for a long time Cyprus has extended its help for humanitarian operations on requests made by other countries. He also said that the decision to allow the US to station a temporary response team was to maintain a sense of stability and security in the region.
Meanwhile, the latest attack on US bases in Al-Asad and Arbil by Iran further escalated the tension in the region. Just before Soleimani was buried in Kerman, Iran launched more than a dozen ballistic missiles against the US military and coalition forces in Iraq. The US did not reveal the number of casualties yet but Iran’s local media reports claimed that around 80 people had been killed in the attacks.
However, the Pentagon said that the bases were already on high alert due to Iran’s indication to attack US forces in the region. “As we evaluate the situation and our response, we will take all necessary measures to protect and defend US personnel, partners, and allies in the region,” said Pentagon in a statement.
This missile attack was first reported by Iranian state TV, who described it as Tehran’s revenge operation over the killing of Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) General Qassem Soleimani. Taking to Twitter, the President also stated that the US has the most powerful and well-equipped military and further apprised that he will make a statement on the attack tomorrow.
All is well! Missiles launched from Iran at two military bases located in Iraq. Assessment of casualties & damages taking place now. So far, so good! We have the most powerful and well equipped military anywhere in the world, by far! I will be making a statement tomorrow morning.— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 8, 2020