The State Department delivered a non-public assessment to Congress about death threats from Iran aimed at former president Donald Trump and top officials from the administration’s Iran envoy.
The assessment, viewed by the Washington Free Beacon, alerted Congress on January 11 that a “specific threat persists with respect to former special representative [for Iran] Brian Hook.” The unclassified but non-public assessment does not name the individuals behind the threats, but refers to them only as a “foreign power or the agent of a foreign power.”
The Free Beacon reports Hook was at the helm of Trump’s maximum pressure campaign on Tehran and was instrumental in the assassination of Iranian terror leader Qassem Soleimani. Soleimani was killed in a 2020 drone strike, and Iran has vowed to take retaliatory action for his death.
The State Department warns Hook has been under a “Serious and credible” threat since at least January 2021. Top Iranian leaders have threatened the lives of Trump and senior members of his administration on Iranian government accounts on Twitter and other social media sites.
Multiple times this month the accounts have promised to assassinate Trump, “with the regime issuing an official video that depicts a drone strike on the former president.” The Biden administration says it takes these threats seriously and will do everything to protect former and current officials.
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Earthquake shakes Turkey and Syria with a rising death toll of 3500 dead
A 7.8 magnitude earthquake struck southern Turkey and northern Syria early Monday morning, leaving 3,500 lives lost and many buildings destroyed. There is an ongoing search and rescue mission for survivors, according to reports.
According to Fox News, The World Health Organization (WHO) said the numbers could increase as much as eight times as rescuers work to find more victims. WHO’s senior emergency officer for Europe, Catherine Smallwood, told AFP that, “We always see the same thing with earthquakes, unfortunately, which is that the initial reports of the numbers of people who have died or who have been injured will increase quite significantly in the week that follows.”
As a mixture of rain and snow fell upon the regions of Turkey and Syria that were devastated by the earthquake, citizens ran outside of their homes as they were woken by the violent and thunderous shakes of the earthquake.
The earthquake toppled regions of Syria that were opposition-held due to the continuing civil-war. The conditions in which these citizens lived had lack of access to health care and lived in poor living conditions.
According to a doctor in Atmeh Syria, 11 people were killed with an unknown number of citizens buried underneath the debris from the toppled apartment buildings and other infrastructure.
The quake was so fierce that it could be felt in Cairo Egypt. The center-point of the quake was located 60 miles from the Syrian border according to Fox News.
Hours later a series of at least 20 aftershock followed the quake. According to Turkish authorities the largest aftershock measured in at a 7.5 magnitude.
On twitter Turkish President, Reccep Tayyip Erdogan said, “We hope that we will get through this disaster together as soon as possible and with the least damage.”
The death toll continues to rise in Turkey and Syria.
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