Iran responds to Soleimani strike with missile attack in Iraq
(CN) – Responding to the killing of Iranian General Qassem Soleimani in a U.S. airstrike, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps fired “tens” of missiles at Ain Assad airbase in Iraq, which currently houses U.S. troops.
Another attack was aimed at a base in Irbil. The Pentagon confirmed the attacks in a statement late Tuesday.
“At approximately 5:30 p.m. (EST) on Jan. 7, Iran launched more than a dozen ballistic missiles against U.S. military and coalition forces in Iraq. It is clear that these missiles were launched from Iran and targeted at least two Iraqi military bases hosting U.S. military and coalition personnel at Al-Assad and Irbil.”
The IRGC said the attack was a revenge hit for a U.S. airstrike that killed Soleimani, the leader of Iran’s Quds Force, on Jan. 3.
Iran state TV ran a message from the IRGC claiming responsibility and warning the U.S. and its allies in the region not to retaliate.
“We warn all allied countries of the U.S. that if attacks are launched from bases in their countries on Iran, they will be a target of military retaliation,” their statement said.
Located the Anbar province in western Iraq about 100 miles west of Baghdad, the Ain Assad airbase houses roughly 1,500 U.S. and coalition troops.
The attack comes just hours after Soleimani’s funeral in his hometown of Kerman in Iran, where 56 people were killed and 200 injured after a stampede broke out.
White House Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham said President Donald Trump is aware of the reports about the missile strike, adding, “The president has been briefed and is monitoring the situation closely and consulting with his national security team.”
In a Tweet Tuesday night, Trump indicated that he would make a statement Wednesday morning. He declined to address the nation earlier in the night.
“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 wrote.
The Pentagon said it is currently assessing damage.
“In recent days and in response to Iranian threats and actions, the Department of Defense has taken all appropriate measures to safeguard our personnel and partners. These bases have been on high alert due to indications that the Iranian regime planned to attack our forces and interests in the region,” the Pentagon said in a statement.
“As we evaluate the situation and our response, we will take all necessary measures to protect and defend U.S. personnel, partners, and allies in the region.”