After a U.S. drone strike killed Iranian Maj. Gen. Qassem Soleimani, countries in Europe, Africa, and Asia are concerned Islamic terrorists may retaliate for his death.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu praised the United States for taking out the terror mastermind but told other Israeli officials not to comment, The Washington Post reported. Israeli embassies worldwide braced for reprisals, including from Hezbollah in Lebanon and Hamas in the Gaza Strip. Both groups have sympathy for and ties to Iran.
Germany raised its terror threat levels and said it would take “appropriate security measures,” including protecting U.S. and Israeli institutions in the country. German lawmaker Armin Schuster joined other politicians in warning a Middle East escalation could prompt increased terrorism in Western Europe.
Nigerian police also went on high alert following Soleimani’s death. “Domestic interests are planning to embark on massive public disturbances and sabotage,” authorities said in an intelligence report. While Reuters couldn’t independently confirm the threat, last month, the Islamic State in Nigeria (known as ISWAP) executed 11 Nigerian Christians around Christmas, saying it was revenge for the U.S. raid in Syria that killed ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.
On Wednesday, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte issued a mandatory evacuation order for thousands of Filipinos working in Iran, Iraq, and Lebanon and planned to send planes and coast guard vessels to transport them to safer ports in nearby countries. Two days later, after tensions eased a little, officials limited the plan and reversed the requirement that their citizens evacuate Iran and Lebanon. —Julia A. Seymour