Iran Fires Missiles at Base Housing U.S. Troops as ‘Vengeance’ for Soleimani Killing.
President Donald Trump has insisted ‘All is well!’ after Iran fired missiles at two military bases in Iraq housing US troops. Mr Trump offered no immediate indication of whether he would retaliate and has stayed out of sight as news of the missile strikes emerged. He tweeted to say that an assessment of damages was still under way and it remains unclear if there have been any casualties. But the president said the outlook was ‘So far, so good!’. Mr Trump promised to make a statement to the nation on Wednesday morning about the increasingly precarious situation with Iran. Iran struck back at the US for the killing of top Iranian general Qasem Soleimani, firing a series of ballistic missiles at two Iraqi bases housing US troops.
Iranian state TV said it was in revenge for the killing of the Revolutionary Guard general in a US air strike near Baghdad last week that had prompted calls to avenge. Soleimani’s killing and the strikes by Iran came as tensions have been rising steadily across the Middle East after Mr Trump’s decision to unilaterally withdraw America from Tehran’s nuclear deal with world powers. They also marked the first time in recent years that Washington and Tehran have attacked each other directly rather than through proxies in the region.
It raised the chances of open conflict erupting between the two enemies, which have been at odds since Iran’s 1979 Islamic Revolution. Iran initially announced only one strike, but US officials confirmed both. The Pentagon said two sites were attacked, in Irbil and Al Asad, Iraq.
White House spokeswoman Stephanie Grisham said in a statement: ‘The president has been briefed and is monitoring the situation closely and consulting with his national security team.’ A statement carried by Iran’s state-run IRNA news agency from Iran’s Revolutionary Guard said: ‘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.’ Iran’s president is expected to make a speech regarding the missile attacks this morning, Iran’s state TV has reported.
Two Iraqi security officials said at least one of the missiles appeared to have struck a plane at the base, igniting a fire. It was not immediately clear whether it was an Iraqi or US jet. About 70 Norwegian troops also were on the air base but no injuries were reported, Brynjar Stordal, a spokesperson for the Norwegian Armed Forces told the Associated Press.
Mr Trump visited the sprawling Ain al-Asad air base, about 100 miles west of Baghdad, in December 2018, making his first presidential visit to troops in the region. He did not meet with any Iraqi officials at the time, and his visit inflamed sensitivities about the continued presence of US forces in Iraq. Vice President Mike Pence also has visited the base.
Iranian state TV said the Guard’s aerospace division that controls Iran’s missile program launched the attack, which it said was part of an operation called Martyr Soleimani.