Iran retaliates, targets US troops with missile attack

Iran strikes back, targets US troops with missile attacks

Iran has carried out a ballistic missile attack on airbases housing US forces in Iraq, in retaliation for the US killing of General Qasem Soleimani.

More than a dozen missiles launched from Iran struck two air bases in Irbil and Al Asad, west of Baghdad.

It is unclear if there have been any casualties.

The initial response from Washington has been muted. President Trump tweeted that all was well and said casualties and damage were being assessed.

Two Iraqi bases housing US and coalition troops were targeted – one at Al Asad and one in Irbil at about 2:00am local time (10.30pm GMT), just hours after the burial of Soleimani.

The Al Asad airbase – located in the Anbar province of western Iraq – was hit by at least six missiles.

Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei said the attack was “a slap in the face” for the US.

“When it comes to confrontation, military action of this kind is not enough. What is important is that the corrupt presence of the United States should come to an end,” he said.

Is this the end of the escalation?

This is the most direct assault by Iran on the US since the seizing of the US embassy in Tehran in 1979.

Iran’s Revolutionary Guards said the attack was in retaliation for the death of Soleimani on Friday – killed in a missile strike outside Baghdad airport on the orders of President Trump.

“We are warning all American allies, who gave their bases to its terrorist army, that any territory that is the starting point of aggressive acts against Iran will be targeted,” a statement said.

The chief of staff of Iran’s regular military, Maj Gen Mohammad Baqeri, said the missile attack showed just a “small part” of the capabilities of the Iranian armed forces.

But Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif issued a statement on Twitter, claiming the attack was self-defence and denied seeking to escalate the situation into war.

The US has around 5,000 troops in Iraq. President Trump said on Tuesday a US withdrawal of troops from Iraq would be the worst thing for the country.

His comments came in the wake of a letter, which the US military said had been sent in error, to Iraq’s prime minister.

The UK foreign office told the BBC: “We are urgently working to establish the facts on the ground. Our first priority is the security of British personnel.”

The UK has put the Royal Navy and military helicopters on standby amid rising tensions in the Middle East, Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said earlier.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani will deliver a speech to the nation, Iranian state television said on Wednesday – but it did not give a timing.

Source: BBC

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