At least two military bases hosting U.S.-led coalition personnel were targeted. Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Corps confirmed the attack was to retaliate for last week’s killing of their commander Qassem Soleimani. Ryan Brooks reports.
Iranian forces fired missiles at military bases housing U.S. troops in Iraq on Wednesday in retaliation for the U.S. killing of an Iranian general, raising the stakes in its conflict with Washington amid concern of a wider war in the Middle East.
Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, addressing a gathering of Iranians chanting “Death to America”, said the attacks were a “slap on the face” of the United States and U.S. troops should leave the region.
Tehran’s foreign minister said Iran took “proportionate measures” in self-defense and did not seek to escalate the confrontation.
The next move appeared to lie with Washington.
U.S. President Donald Trump, who ordered the drone strike that killed General Qassem Soleimani in Baghdad on Friday, gave an initial response on Twitter: “All is well!”.
Casualties and damage from the missile attacks were being assessed and Trump said he would make a statement on Wednesday.
Trump, who was impeached last month and faces an election this year, at the weekend threatened to target 52 Iranian sites if Iran retaliated for Soleimani’s killing.
CASUALTY TOLL DISPUTED
Iranian state television said Iran had fired 15 ballistic missiles from its territory at U.S. targets in its neighbor Iraq. The bases targeted were al-Asad air base and another facility in Erbil, the Pentagon said.
One source said early indications were of no U.S. casualties, while other U.S. officials declined to comment.
Iranian television said 80 “American terrorists” had been killed and U.S. helicopters and military equipment damaged. It provided no evidence of how it obtained that information.
Germany, Denmark, Norway and Poland said none of their troops in Iraq were hurt. Britain, which also has personnel in Iraq, condemned the Iranian action. Iraq said its forces did not suffer casualties.
More than 5,000 U.S. troops remain in Iraq along with the other foreign forces in a coalition that has trained and backed Iraqi forces against the threat of Islamic State militants.