Iran Strikes two Airbase Hosting

Iran launched more than a dozen ballistic missiles targeting at least two U.S.-led coalition military bases in Iraq early on Wednesday local time.

The Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRCG) confirmed the strikes were in retaliation for last week’s killing of top general Qasem Soleimani, according to Iranian state TV. 

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The Pentagon, which said at least a dozen ballistic missiles were fired, acknowledged the strikes but has not made any comment on casualties. 

The missile launches come days after U.S. President Donald Trump ordered the killing of top Iranian general Qasem Soleimani, who died in a drone strike at Baghdad airport on Friday. 

What happened?

The Pentagon said it was still “working on initial battle damage assessments” after “Iran launched more than a dozen ballistic missiles against US 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 US military and coalition personnel at Al-Assad and Irbil,” the Pentagon said.

The IRGC said it launched a “successful attack with tens of ballistic missiles on al-Asad military base in the name of martyr Gen. Qasem Soleimani,” according to state television.

“The fierce revenge by the Revolutionary Guards has begun,” the statement added, alongside a warning that a U.S. counter-attack would be met with an even “more crushing response.” 

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The Pentagon confirmed missiles strikes against two Iraqi bases at Al-Assad and Irbil, which host U.S. military and coalition personnel, adding that the U.S. will take all necessary defensive measures.

The casualties or extent of the damage caused by the attack was not immediately clear as tension mounted between Washington and Tehran following the U.S. killing of Soleimani.

The New York Times cited Iraq’s Joint Military Command saying that the attack began at 1:20 a.m. local time, the time that Suleimani was killed on Friday.

Will the U.S. respond?

The White House said Trump has been briefed on the attacks and is monitoring the situation. Initial reports that the president would address the nation have been downplayed.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Defense Secretary Mark Esper arrived at the White House following news of the attack. 

Hours earlier on Tuesday, Esper said the United States should anticipate retaliation from Iran over Friday’s killing in Iraq of Soleimani, commander of the elite Quds Force. 

“I think we should expect that they will retaliate in some way, shape or form,” he told a news briefing at the Pentagon, adding that such retaliation could be through Iran-backed proxy 
groups outside of Iran or “by their own hand.”

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“We’re prepared for any contingency. And then we will respond appropriately to whatever they do,”  Esper said.

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