president trump defends the us drone strike that killed iran's foremost military commander — saying imminent and sinister attacks were being planned. the target, qasem soleimani, was the mastermind behind iran's middle east operations, heading up the country's elite intelligence and military force the us drone struck a car carrying soleimani just outside the airport in iraq's capital, baghdad — president trump described it as defensive. we took action last night to stop a war. we did not take action to start a war. iran has called the assassination an act of international terrorism — and has promised a response at a time and place of its choosing. also tonight...
safe at last — relief as the australian navy rescues a thousand people who'd been trapped on the coast by bush fires. and another disappointing day for england as the wickets tumble in the second test against south africa. and in sport, this weekend's fa cup games will kick off late after a short film including prince william, including people to talk openly about their mental health. good evening. president trump has defended his order to assassinate iran's top military commander, saying the action was taken to stop a war, and that it should have been done long ago. general qasem soleimani, one of the most powerful
men in the middle east, was killed in iraq, outside baghdad airport, by a us air strike. iran has vowed "severe revenge" for the killing — its foreign minister described it as an act of international terrorism. the attack marks a major escalation in tensions between washington and tehran — and the us is sending three thousand additional troops to the region as a precaution. here's our middle east editorjeremy bowen. this was the moment that the us assassinated qasem soleimani and pushed the middle east into a new year and new decade of uncertainty and more danger. the pictures came from a tv station controlled by iran. the attack, from a missile fired from a drone, hit his motorcade as he was being driven out of baghdad airport. the us and iran were already fighting a war in the shadows. neither side wants uncontrolled escalation, but the chances of miscalculation and a lurch
into a bigger war have increased. qasem soleimani was no ordinary foe. for a generation, he was probably america's most capable enemy. his death delivers a blow to the heart of the iranian regime. for many years, soleimani built up iran's power outside its borders and made it, and himself, a major player in iraq, syria and lebanon. he was a talisman for iranian hardliners who have been rocked to their core. they will want to get even — perhaps more than that. last sunday, american air strikes killed 25 members of kata'ib hezbollah, an iraqi militia armed and trained by soleimani's quds organisation, after an american contractor was killed in a militia attack. the militiamen, undoubtedly on soleimani's orders, marched on the us embassy in baghdad
and attacked its perimeter. the militias he created were a vital part of the fight against thejihadists of islamic state but they are also one way that iran projects power abroad. the huge american compound is a fortress and it wasn't breached but the attacks goaded and threatened the trump administration. the americans are rushing in reinforcements to the middle east — 3,750 so far. us civilians, told by their government to get out as soon as they can. but president trump wanted to press home an american advantage. his reign of terror is over. soleimani has been perpetrating acts of terror to destabilise the middle east for the last 20 years. what the united states did yesterday should have been done long ago. we took action last night to stop a war. we did not take action
to start a war. in baghdad, some iraqis celebrated the killing. for weeks, anti—government demonstrators have been demanding an end to iranian influence in iraq. in tehran, ayatollah ali khamenei, iran's supreme leader, visited qasem soleimani's widow. he said severe revenge awaits the criminals. iranian hardliners are devastated. the spokesman for soleimani's republican guard corps was highly emotional in a tv interview. so were regime supporters on the streets. qasem soleimani was their hero at a time when they see themselves surrounded by enemies. iran was already under severe pressure from us sanctions. president trump might be gambling that he has so weakened iran that it
will rage but not hurt the us badly. that assumption could be dangerous and wrong. jeremy bowen, bbc news. we can talk now to our north america correspondent, aleem maqbool who's in washington. wide, your assessment, was this launched now? —— why in your assessment. donald trump was talking about qasem soleimani being the number one terrorist anywhere in the world, saying he played a part in terror plots as far as delhi and even london, although he did not elaborate further on those claims. the state department is saying that qasem soleimani fulfilled all of the criteria for somebody who needed to be eliminated, because of these apparent plots he was planning around the region, that risked the lives of hundreds of americans. though again, we haven't been given any further details of those. senior
republicans here have welcomed the news. democrats have been incredibly critical of something they have called reckless. the presidential candidate joe biden, for example, said the world had been set on edge by the actions of a dangerously incompetent commander—in—chief. there are those who say congress should have been consulted, that america's allies in the region should have been consulted. we know that boris johnson did should have been consulted. we know that borisjohnson did not know of this attack before it happened. finally, it is worth saying that this hugely powerful man, qasem soleimani, had been in the sights of previous administrations, george w bush, and the obama administration, and the calculation then had been that killing him would cause ramifications that were just too huge. donald trump, however, it is clear, feels it is worth risking the consequences that are now going to come america's away and the way of the middle east. many thanks. aleem maqbool. our chief international correspondent lyse doucet
is in afghanistan. aleem was talking about the potential consequences. iran is vowing revenge. what kind of retaliation could there be? well, iran has many ways and many means to strike back. and judging by its past military operations, its response will be carefully calibrated. it will be carefully calibrated. it will want to be seen to reply in equal measure to what it has described as a declaration of war, but it wants to avoid a direct military confrontation with the united states, which it knows could push this region into an ever more unpredictable and deadly escalation. so, its next move could possibly be through some of its many proxies across this region, possibly in iraq, where there are us forces, us targets, where i am now coming in afghanistan, where us forces are also based. but given iran's vast intelligence network, it could also ta ke intelligence network, it could also
take place in another corner of the world, farfrom take place in another corner of the world, far from iran's take place in another corner of the world, farfrom iran's borders. but iran will wantan world, farfrom iran's borders. but iran will want an operation that shocks and surprises, at a time of its own choosing, which stops short ofan its own choosing, which stops short of an all—out war. but the replications of this major turning point, be it a question of days, weeks or even months, this will play out across this region for many yea rs. out across this region for many years. many thanks. and for more on the power wielded by quasem soleimani, you can see jane corbin s documentary about his life, shadow commander — iran s military mastermind, which is on the iplayer now. the australian navy has rescued around a thousand people who were trapped by bushfires on the south—eastern coast. tens of thousands of others are now being urged to move to safety, amid fears the fires could move "frighteningly quickly" and that conditions could be "dire." eight people have died this week and a50 homes have been lost on the south coast.
this map shows the spread of the fires since the beginning of the week. as you can see, they are concentrated in the coastal areas in the east. our correspondent shaimaa khalil reports now from sussex inlet, just over a hundred miles south of sydney. for the first time in days, nearly a thousand tourists and residents can breathe a little more easily as they are finally moved to safety. the navy has stepped in to rescue those who were stranded on the beach in mallacoota when they were encircled by an uncontrollable fire on monday. a state of disaster has been declared in eastern victoria ahead of tomorrow's extreme conditions. up to 100,000 residents are being told to evacuate. if you can leave, you must leave. that is the only safe thing for you, your family, and, indeed, for others who may be called to your assistance. we cannot guarantee your safety. in new south wales,
the message is the same. fire authorities have said that saturday's blazes could be as bad as, if not worse, than those of new year's eve. in the coastal town of batemans bay, firefighters are racing to protect those who have decided to stay. despite the warnings, geoff and pamela zorbas decided they are not leaving their small town of sussex inlet. hopefully it is not going to be as bad as they are predicting but we have got the hoses ready and we just hose the house down if the embers come. and if the fires do hit hard, we've got a boat here. we're going tojump in the boat and we're going to get out to sea. i'lljust take the family and the dogs and away we go. jay martin is also staying put to defend his house and help friends and neighbours. he tells me the anticipation of disaster is what worries him. waiting. that's the hardest part. we've been at it for two weeks and it's just waiting. and there's people doing it a lot tougher than me.
i've just been waiting and helping out, just getting through tomorrow and hope it all passes and we get a bit of rain on monday. a blaze has just started on the bush in this area, just beyond that tree line. firefighters are watching closely here. their concern is that, with the wind picking up, this could travel very fast and get here. they have been patrolling the area and making sure that properties are protected. that is really the main aim. politically, this has been a rough ride for the prime minister, who has been regularly criticised for how he has handled the bushfire crisis. and it is notjust the residents who have made their feelings clear. scott morrison said he understood the anger but was focusing on the task in hand. 0ur concerns are obviously now looking out over the next sort of 24—48—hour period. this is a ferocious fire that is still out there and the climatic conditions are going to be very difficult to contain that in the next 24—48 hours. that is why the evacuation messages are so incredibly important.
there is a real sense of dread here about what will happen in these coming hours. at a time when many had planned family holidays, australians now wait for yet another firestorm to blaze through. shaimaa khalil, bbc news, on the southern coast of new south wales. two more labour mps have announced that they are joining the contest to become the next leader of the party. the wigan mp lisa nandy said the role should go to someone from what she called "the neglected areas" of labour's heartlands, who could win back the trust of the party's traditional voters. and jess phillips, the mp for birmingham yardley, has also joined the race. on a visit to grimsby, she said the party needed a leader who could "take on" borisjohson and who was willing to "try something different". i'm standing because i think that we need more honesty in politics, and the labour party has got to be honest with itself, it's got to be honest with the country that if we can lose seats like grimsby,
something has to change. more of the same won't cut it. ethical veganism — where people avoid all animal products and exploitation — is a philosophical belief and is therefore protected in law. that's according to an employment tribunal in norwich, ruling on the case of a man who claims he was sacked by the league against cruel sports for his ethical veganism. our legal correspondent clive coleman is with me now. jordi casamijana says that when he told his employers that some of their pension funds were invested in companies that test animals, he says he was sacked. an employment tribunal found that ethical veganism isa tribunal found that ethical veganism is a philosophical belief, akin to a religion, and so is protected in
law. i say ethical, as opposed to simple dietary veganism, a whole belief system. jordi casamijana does not take buses, for fear that it might crash into a insect or bird. to qualify as a philosophical belief, it has to be genuinely held, it has to be serious and cover a substantial area of life, be worthy of respect in a democratic society and not interfere with the rights of others. there are big implications for employers, because they must ensure they do not disconnect against those holding such beliefs. but it's not just against those holding such beliefs. but it's notjust in employment, the protection will extend to other areas such as education, the supply of goods and services and, of course, other people with other philosophical beliefs may now seek to have those protected in law as well. three energy companies have agreed to pay a total of £10.5 million for their roles in a serious power cut last august. there was severe travel disruption and more than a million customers
were left without electricity when a lightning strike caused two large generators to fail. the energy regulator, 0fgem, says the money will be paid into its consumer redress fund. an estranged husband has appeared in court charged with murdering his wife and her new partner after they were both found fatally stabbed at a house in derbyshire on new year's day. the bodies of helen hancock and martin griffiths were found in the village of duffield in the early hours of the morning. rhys hancock, who's 39, has been remanded in custody. england s cricketers began the new year with another frustrating day in south africa. after defeat in the first test, and several players succumbing to illness and injury, the team then lost nine wickets on the first day of the second test match. play ended in cape town with england 262—9 in theirfirst innings. here'sjoe wilson. cape town's newlands ground is appreciated fully from a distance. might be the best view
in world cricket. zak crawley, 21 years young, was just trying to watch the ball and stay cool. he opened england's batting — not easy. edged and gone. crawley played because rory burns had hurt himself playing football. south africa don't need extra help. and england's training session football games are now banned. their batting here was stop—stop, or start—stop. dom sibley gone for 34. captainjoe root deflected the ball with his glove to the wicketkeeper. he made 35. these are frustrating numbers. joe denly again did so much hard work and then... bowled him! 38 for him. still, step forward, ben stokes. good, firm hit. these were the moments when you realise so many of cape town's spectators were england fans. well, it is a very dry january, in that sun. watch what stokes did next, or perhaps don't. out! he saw it but still couldn't believe it. caught and gone for a7.
england's intermittent innings threatened to fully stop. that was curran gone. they got to 262—9, thanks mainly to 0lly pope, just turned 22. his innings wasn't quite table mountain, but it was high enough to give england some hope. 56 not out. joe wilson, bbc news. there's more throughout the evening on the bbc news channel. now on bbc one it's time for the news where you are. goodbye.
a former fbi supervisory special agent, and ceo of the soufan group. he's been explaining what the implications could be. iran has a lot of options for retaliations. one of the options is definitely asymmetrical in nature. qassem soleimani single—handedly built an ark of influence for iran that goes all the way from the gulf of oman to the borders with israel. he has hundreds of thousands of militiamen in yemen, in syria, in iraq and lebanon. they consider him their commander and leader. iran will use that influence that qassem soleimani developed over the last two decades descendent significant messages to the united states — asymmetrical messages to the united states across the region. another thing the iranians
might do is inside iraq. i think we lit a fire under iraq with the assassination of qassem soleimani, and this ushers in a new era for iraq that will be very chaotic and violent. i expect the pmf units and many of the shiah politicians to go to parliament, asking to legislate a law that asks the united states to leave, then maybe starting a resistance against the american presidents, similar to what hizballah did in the i980—90s against the israelis in southern lebanon, or like what the houthis are doing against the saudis and the emirates in lebanon. —— in yemen. a lot of tools on their fingertips and a lot of the assets that they might use against the united states have been developed by qassem soleimani himself. given that sphere of influence that you've just outlined, we heard that the united states planned to send a further 3,000 troops to the region.
how prepared do you think the pentagon is for the potential fallout of this? i actually don't think anyone is prepared for what will happen after qassem soleimani's death. i mean, you know, the us killed qassem soleimani yesterday, but by doing so, we ended that controlled escalation that has been simmering for a while between us and iran in the region, and especially in iraq. and this is going to open a new phase where there is a unconstrained responses between us and the iranians's proxies. i think the situation now is way more dangerous than it used to be yesterday. the world is definitely not a safer place, even though somebody like qassem soleimani is not in it any more. i believe what happened in iraq is kind of like an archduke ferdinand moment, you know, his assassination changed
the face of the world. and that might be a regional moment for the middle east, i think it will create significant changes in the middle east as well as in the rules of the game between us and iran, and its proxies in the wider region. it's a very powerful comparison you make there. given that, what would you like to see as a response from the wider international community to this? i think the wider international community has been very shocked by what happened. we saw what the french said, we've seen the foreign minister from the uk, everybody is asking for de—escalation. and i hope they continue to urge the administration and the iranians, frankly, through their channels to de—escalate the situation. i think iran will definitely retaliate. they have what they call an "arc of resistance", and that arc will be very weak
if they don't do anything to revenge qassem soleimani, so they have to do something about it. i think they will be strategic in their response, but i think the international communities will be very firm in holding iran accountable for an escalation that goes beyond what happened, you know, against civilians, for example, against innocent people. and i think at the same time, we need to open channels with the us administration and make the de—escalation statement of secretary pompeo a reality. and we'll be looking at this story in the papers with jason beattie from the daily mirror and olivia utley from the sun. that's at ii.30pm.
taking a look at what is making the front pages tomorrow. do join us for that. this is bbc news. i'm rachel schofield. the headlines at 11:00: tensions escalate between washington and tehran after us troops kill iran's most powerful military commander. president trump says he is prepared to take whatever action is needed to protect americans. qasem soleimani has been perpetrating acts of terror to destabilise the middle east for the last 20 years. what the united states did last 20 years. what the united states d id yesterday last 20 years. what the united states did yesterday should have been done long ago. lisa nandy and jess phillips becomes the latest labour mps to enter the race to become the party's next leader. relief for around a thousand people as australian naval ships rescue them from the country's bushfires. a judge rules that ethical veganism is a philosophical belief