Wednesday, January 8, 2020 6:30 am
The Pentagon has confirmed that Iran fired more than a dozen missiles American at U.S. troops and coalition forces at two bases in Iraq on Tuesday.
However, it was not clear if the missile attack resulted in the death of any American troop or in extensive damages to the American base.
“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,” Pentagon spokesman Jonathan Hoffman said Tuesday.
“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,” Hoffman added.
US President Donald Trump announced on Twitter he would make a statement on the attack Wednesday.
“All is well! Missiles launched from Iran at two military bases located in Iraq,” Trump posted to Twitter late Tuesday night. “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.”
USA TODAY quoted an unnamed official as describing the attacks as “massive” and cautioned that the assessment was made in the predawn hours in Iraq on Wednesday.
He also confirmed that troops stationed at that base did have advance warning of incoming missiles so they were able to scramble for cover, the official said.
Pentagon officials were reviewing reports from Iraq and weighing a response, a senior U.S. defense official speaking on the condition of anonymity told USA TODAY.
“The president has been briefed and is monitoring the situation closely and consulting with his national security team,” White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham said.
Ain Assad air base is located in western Iraq and it was used by American forces after the 2003 U.S.-led invasion that toppled dictator Saddam Hussein. It houses about 1,500 U.S. and coalition forces. Trump made a surprise visit there in late 2018 and delivered remarks about the fight against the Islamic State.
The Irbil base, which the Pentagon said was the site of another attack, is located in Iraq’s semiautonomous Kurdish region.
Iranian state TV reported that Tehran claimed credit for the attack and said it was a response to the killing of Soleimani, which Trump ordered late last week.
The strike, which occurred early Wednesday in Iraq, came hours after crowds of Iranians were seen publicly mourning Soleimani.
Iran’s Revolutionary Guard warned the U.S. and its allies against retaliating over the missile attack. The Guard issued the warning via a statement carried by Iran’s state-run IRNA news agency.
“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,” the statement said.
Iranian foreign minister Javad Zarif framed the attack as a measure of “self-defense.”
“We do not seek escalation or war, but will defend ourselves against any aggression,” Zarif tweeted late Tuesday.