President Donald Trump reportedly approved a military strike against Iran on Thursday, and, with planes in the air and ships in position, the strike was reportedly pulled back at the last minute.
“As late as 7 p.m. Thursday, military and diplomatic officials were expecting a strike, after intense discussions and debate at the White House among the president’s top national security officials and congressional leaders, according to multiple senior administration officials involved in or briefed on the deliberations,” The New York Times reported.
“Officials said the president had initially approved attacks on a handful of Iranian targets, like radar and missile batteries,” The Times continued. “The operation was underway in its early stages when it was called off, a senior administration official said. Planes were in the air and ships were in position, but no missiles had been fired when word came to stand down, the official said.”
The attack was reportedly in response to Iran shooting down a U.S. military drone earlier this week.
Navy Capt. Bill Urban, U.S. Central Command spokesman, said in a statement: “CENTCOM confirms that a U.S. Navy drone was shot down by an Iranian surface-to-air missile system while operating in international airspace over the Strait of Hormuz at approximately 11:35 p.m. GMT on June 19, 2019. Iranian reports that the aircraft was over Iran are false. This was an unprovoked attack on a U.S. surveillance asset in international airspace.”
“Congressional Democrats emerged from the president’s classified briefing in the Situation Room and urged Mr. Trump to de-escalate the situation,” The Times added. “They called on the president to seek congressional authorization before taking any military action.”
Speaking on the situation, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said: “In light of the targeting of an unmanned U.S. drone by Iran, it is essential that we remain fully engaged with our allies, recognize that we are not dealing with a responsible adversary & do everything in our power to de-escalate. This is a dangerous, high-tension situation that requires a strong, smart and strategic, not reckless, approach.”
Early on Friday morning, the Associated Press confirmed some of The New York Times’ reporting.
“According to the official who spoke to the AP, the strikes were recommended by the Pentagon and were among the options presented to senior administration officials,” The AP reported. “It was unclear how far the preparations had gone, but no shots were fired or missiles launched.”
This is a breaking news story, refresh the page for updates.