According to Pentagon officials, Iran has launched 15 ballistic missiles at two Iraqi military bases that house US troops in the early hours of January 8. The attack came as Iran buried the body of general Qasem Soleimani, who was killed in a US airstrike last Friday.
10 rockets hit Al Asad Air Base in western Iraq where US forces are based, about 124 miles west of Baghdad.
One missile struck a base in Erbil, a city in Iraq’s semi-autonomous Kurdish region. Erbil’s airport has canceled all flights following the attack.
Four other missiles failed to hit targets.
The number of casualties among US troops has yet to be disclosed.
Iran’s promise to avenge Soleimani death
Commander of the IRGC Major General Hossein Salami vowed “tough” and “decisive” revenge for Soleimani.
Following the general’s death, Iran’s president, Hassan Rouhani, visited and spoke with the late general’s family. The president promised to “avenge his (Soleimani’s) blood.”
Soleimani was the IRGC Quds Force Commander before being assassinated in a US drone strike.
General Salami addressed thousands of mourners who gathered for the funeral ceremony of the late general in the southeastern city of Kerman on January 7.
“Today, the seeds of hatred for the US have been sown in the hearts of Muslims and no safe point have been left for them (Americans),” he said.
“All is well” in the US
Following reports of the attacks, White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham said President Donald Trump “has been briefed and is monitoring the situation closely and consulting with his national security team.”
“All is well! Missiles launched from Iran at two military bases located in Iraq. Assessment of casualties & damages taking place now. So far, so good! We have the most powerful and well equipped military anywhere in the world, by far! I will be making a statement tomorrow morning,” Trump tweeted.
Trump previously defended his actions for ordering the killing of Soleimani, claiming that the general’s assassination was carried out to stop a war, not to start one.
However, the Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, called that account into question, saying that America and the world cannot “afford war”.
“We must ensure the safety of our service members, including ending needless provocations from the Administration and demanding that Iran cease its violence. America & world cannot afford war,” she said.
According to CNN, top national security officials, including Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Defense Secretary Mark Esper, have departed the White House and will not be responding to the attack tonight.