Iran has fired a series of missiles at two Iraqi bases housing U.S. troops in a revenge attack just hours after the funeral of a top Iranian general whose killing in a U.S. drone strike has raised fears of a wider war in the Middle East.
The Al Asad airbase in western Iraq – where Trump visited in December 2018 – was reported to have been hit by 35 missiles fired from inside Iran.
A U.S. site in Erbil, in Iraqi Kurdistan that provides facilities and services to at least hundreds of coalition personnel and CIA operatives, was also hit.
U.S. officials have confirmed the strikes but there was no immediate word on injuries.
Defense Secretary Mark Esper and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo were spotted arriving at the White House on Tuesday night soon after news of the strikes broke.
Iranian state TV said ‘tens’ of surface-to-surface missiles were launched by the Revolutionary Guard’s aerospace division that controls the country’s missile program.
They reported the operation’s name was ‘Martyr Soleimani’ – named after the general killed in the U.S. drone strike.
Tehran has tonight launched missile attack on two US bases in Iraq housing US and coalition troops, defense sources have revealed
The rockets hit Ain Asad (pictured) which houses US and coalition troops
The Pentagon confirmed: ‘At approximately 5.30pm (EST) on January 7, Iran launched more than a dozen ballistic missiles against U.S. military and coalition’
In a statement, the Pentagon said Iran launched more than a dozen ballistic missiles against U.S. military and coalition forces in Iraq at about 5.30pm (EST).
‘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,’ the statement read.
‘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. We are working on initial battle damage assessments.
‘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. Due to the dynamic nature of the situation, we will continue to provide updates as they become available.’
Trump has been briefed on the rocket attacks.
‘We are aware of the reports of attacks on US facilities in Iraq. 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.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was handed a note about the attack as she discussed the situation in Iran in a meeting with lawmakers.
Pelosi stopped the discussion the Steering Committee to report the news, according to Michigan Democrat Rep. Dan Kildee.
Rep. Debbie Dingell says Pelosi told them to ‘pray’.
Trump had earlier told reporters about the prospect of an Iranian attack: ‘We’re totally prepared.’
‘They’re going to be suffering the consequences and very strongly,’ he said from the Oval Office during a meeting with Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis.
The Al Asad airbase in western Iraq – where Trump visited in December 2018 – was reported to have been hit by 35 missiles fired from inside Iran
Iran state TV says Tehran has launched ‘tens’ of surface-to-surface missiles at Iraq’s Ain Asad air base housing US troops
The base for American and coalition troops continued to get pelted with rockets with forces taking a third round Tuesday night, according to militarily sources
It’s unclear if there are any casualties at the base where President Trump visited in December 2018.
‘These are either cruise missiles or short range ballistic missiles,’ Fox News reported a senior US military source in a Iraq said. ‘All over the country.’
The Al Asad base was hit by three barrages of missiles according to militarily sources at the location.
Early reports of an al-Taji military base attack were later reported as a drill on Tuesday but new reports say six rockets hit.
Local reports initially suggested that five rockets had struck the al-Taji military base, situated 30km north of Baghdad, after ‘shelter in place’ sirens were heard ringing out around the compound.
Sirens were also heard blaring out inside the US consulate in Erbil, in the Iraqi Kurdistan region, according to Al Ghad TV.
However, Kurdistan 24 reporter Barzan Sadiq later tweeted that the al-Taji base was calm on Tuesday night and suggested the purported attack was likely just a drill.
However, Kurdistan 24 reporter Barzan Sadiq later tweeted that the base was calm on Tuesday night and suggested the purported attack was likely just a drill
Kurdistan 24 reporter Barzan Sadiq later tweeted that the base was al-Taji calm on Tuesday night and suggested the purported attack was likely just a drill
Local reports initially suggested that five rocket had struck the al-Taji military base, situated 30km north of Baghdad, after ‘shelter in place’ siren were heard ringing out around the compound
Reports of the strike occurred just hours after a flurry of US airstrikes were carried out on militia bases in Western Iraq and Syria, targeting Iraq’s Popular Mobilization Units (PMU), a paramilitary umbrella group that is part of the Iraqi government.
US forces were said to be specifically targeting the Kataib Hezbollah (KH), a faction within the PMU, in response to repeated attacks against US-led coalition forces in Iraq.
The targeted three KH bases in Iraq and two in Syria, under the belief each of the locations ‘included weapon storage facilities and command and control locations that KH uses to plan and execute attacks on coalition forces.’
Trump had said troops should stay at the base to watch Iran.
‘I want to be able to watch Iran,’ Trump said in and interview with CBS’s Face the Nation in February 2019.
‘We’re going to keep watching and we’re going to keep seeing and if there’s trouble, if somebody is looking to do nuclear weapons or other things, we’re going to know it before they do.’
Iran is considering its options against America in retaliation for the killing of Quds commander Qassem Soleimeni in Baghdad. The conflict could quickly spiral out of control, dragging in other world powers including Russia, Turkey and China