President Trump warns of 'heavy price' if Iran carries 'sneak attack' on US troops in Iraq

WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 31: U.S. President Donald Trump participates in the daily coronavirus task force briefing in the Brady Briefing room at the White House on March 31, 2020 in Washington, DC. The top government scientists battling the coronavirus

President Donald Trump tweeted on Wednesday that Iran and its proxies are planning a sneak attack on U.S. troops and/or assets in Iraq. The president warned that if such an attack were to be carried out, Iran would pay "a very heavy price indeed!"

A top Iranian general arrived in Baghdad this week to try and unify Iraq's fractured political leaders, Iraqi officials said Wednesday, as stiff opposition by one major bloc thwarts chances the country's latest prime minister-designate can form a government.

Meanwhile, revenues from oil exports were slashed by nearly half due to plummeting oil prices in March, according to figures released Wednesday by the Oil Ministry, pushing Iraq into deeper economic uncertainty amid political dysfunction and the coronavirus pandemic.

Esmail Ghaani, head of Iran's expeditionary Quds Force, arrived in Baghdad late Monday, Iraqi officials said, in his first public visit to Iraq since succeeding slain Iranian general Qassim Soleimani. His arrival at Baghdad airport came amid a curfew to stem the spread of the coronavirus that has halted inbound and outbound flights.

The four Iraqi officials spoke on condition of anonymity in line with regulations.

The Taliban said Wednesday the group was ready to declare a cease-fire in areas of Afghanistan under its control if they are hit by a coronavirus outbreak.

The announcement follows a U.N. Security Council statement Tuesday urging Afghanistan’s warring parties to heed the U.N. secretary-general’s call for an immediate cease-fire to respond to the pandemic and ensure the delivery of humanitarian aid throughout the country.

“If, God forbid, the outbreak happens in an area where we control the situation then we will stop fighting in that area,” Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Muajhed told The Associated Press.

The Associated Press contributed to this story. This story was reported from Los Angeles.