President Donald Trump approved military strikes against Iran in retaliation for downing an American surveillance drone, but pulled back from launching them on Thursday night after a day of escalating tensions, US media reports said on Friday.
The military and diplomatic officials were expecting a strike after intense discussion and debate among the president’s top national security officials and congressional leaders on Thursday night at White House, New York Times cites one unidentified administration official as saying.
Planes were in the air and ships were in position, but no missiles had been fired when word came to stand down on Thursday night, New York Times quotes sources familiar with the matter.
It was not clear if strikes would go ahead at a later date. The White House and Pentagon have not commented on the reports.
The retaliation plan was intended as a response to the shooting down of the unmanned, $130 million surveillance drone, which was struck Thursday morning by an Iranian surface-to-air missile, according to a senior administration official who was briefed on the military planning and spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss confidential plans.