President Donald Trump tweeted Friday morning that he was "cocked and loaded" to retaliate against Iran after its forces shot down a US drone earlier this week but decided not to at the last minute.
The president said that he was concerned that the planned retaliatory strikes would be an escalation of force. "I asked, how many people will die." Unnamed military officers apparently told Trump that 150 Iranian people would die.
He said that such a strike is "not proportionate to shooting down an unmanned drone." He said that he called everything off 10 minutes before the attack. The president stressed that he is "in no hurry to go to war."
The retaliatory action the administration had planned was in response to an attack on a US Navy Broad Area Maritime Surveillance (BAMS-D) aircraft, specifically a RQ-4A Global Hawk high-altitude long endurance (HALE) drone, operating in international airspace.
The incident marked a major escalation in tension between Tehran and Washington in the wake of a string of attacks on commercial tankers, and a near-miss when the Iranian crew of an Iranian gunboat took a shot at a US MQ-9 Reaper drone but failed to take it down.
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