Iran's Zarif urges Trump to avoid Israel 'trap'

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif urged U.S. President Donald Trump on Saturday (January 2) not to be "trapped" by an alleged Israeli plan to provoke a war through attacks on U.S. forces in Iraq.

In a tweet, he wrote: "New intelligence from Iraq indicates that Israeli agent-provocateurs are plotting attacks against Americans — putting an outgoing Trump in a bind with a fake casus belli", adding that Trump should be, quote, "careful of a trap".

The warning was issued on the anniversary of the killing of top Iranian general Qassem Soleimani by a U.S. drone strike in Iraq.

There was no immediate comment by Israel.

Washington blames Iran-backed militia for regular rocket attacks on U.S. facilities in Iraq. No known Iran-backed groups have claimed responsibility.

The U.S. military flew two nuclear-capable B-52 bombers to the Middle East in a message of deterrence to Iran on Wednesday (December 30), but they have since left the region.

The commander of Iran's elite Revolutionary Guards Corps, General Hossein Salami, vowed to strike back in the case of any attack on Iran.