Sun, 28 February 2021

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Dominic Raab warns against 'war in Middle East' after Iran bombs coalition bases

Dominic Raab warns against 'war in Middle East' after Iran bombs coalition bases
2 min read

Dominic Raab has warned against a "war in the Middle East" after Iran fired rockets at bases in Iraq housing American and British troops.

The Foreign Secretary called on Tehran not to mount further "reckless and dangerous attacks" as the US Department of Defence confirmed two air bases in Irbil and Al Asad, west of Baghdad, had been hit by ballistic missiles.

Downing Street confirmed there were no British casualties in the attack.

Iran's Revolutionary Guard said the attack was a response to the US killing of top Iranian General Qasem Soleimani last Friday, a move that has sparked fresh tensions in the region and raised the prospect of a wider conflict.

Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif meanwhile said Tehran had "concluded proportionate measures in self-defence" but did "not seek escalation or war".

In a statement issued early on Wednesday, Mr Raab said: "We condemn this attack on Iraqi military bases hosting Coalition - including British - forces. 

"We are concerned by reports of casualties and use of ballistic missiles. 

"We urge Iran not to repeat these reckless and dangerous attacks, and instead to pursue urgent de-escalation. 

"A war in the Middle East would only benefit Daesh and other terrorist groups."

A Foreign Office spokesperson meanwhile said: "We are urgently working to establish the facts on the ground. Our first priority is the security of British personnel."

The stark warning from the Foreign Secretary comes after his Cabinet colleague Ben Wallace refused to rule out British strikes against Iran.

The Defence Secretary told MPs that Britain would do "what it has to do" to defend itself.

And he said the UK was taking "urgent measures" to UK service personnel and civilians from Iranian reprisals.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn meanwhile accused Boris Johnson of  being "scared" of upsetting US President Donald Trump after he failed to show up to a Commons debate on the situation in Iran.


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