Iran launched a missile attack on US-led forces in Iraq in the early hours of Wednesday in retaliation for the US drone strike on a top Iranian General in Baghdad.
Tehran fired more than a dozen ballistic missiles from Iranian territory against at least two Iraqi facilities hosting US-led coalition personnel at about 1:30 a.m. local time, the US military said on Tuesday.
US President Donald Trump said in a tweet late on Tuesday that an assessment of casualties and damage from the strikes was underway and that he would make a statement on Wednesday morning. “All is well!” Trump said in the Twitter post.
Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps confirmed they fired the missiles to retaliate for last week’s killing of Qassem Soleimani, according to a statement on state TV.
The statement advised the United States to withdraw its troops from the region to prevent more deaths and warned US allies including Israel not to allow attacks from their territories.
Pentagon spokesman Jonathan Hoffman said in a statement that the bases targeted were al-Asad airbase and another facility in Erbil, Iraq. “As we evaluate the situation and our response, we will take all necessary measures to protect and defend US personnel, partners, and allies in the region.”
Trump, who visited the al-Asad airbase in December 2018, was briefed on reports of the attack and was monitoring the situation, White House spokeswoman Stephanie Grisham said.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and US Defense Secretary Mark Esper arrived at the White House following news of the attack. It was unclear what response, if any, the United States was planning.
Iranian missiles hit intended US targets in Iraq, Press TV quoted an unnamed source as saying. “Missile tracking shows they hit intended American targets in Iraq.”
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said Iran took “proportionate measures in self-defence under Article 51 of the UN Charter,” targeting the bases where the attack against its citizens and senior officials was launched.
“We do not seek escalation of war, but will defend ourselves against any aggression,” he wrote in a post on Twitter.
Iran took & concluded proportionate measures in self-defense under Article 51 of UN Charter targeting base from which cowardly armed attack against our citizens & senior officials were launched.
We do not seek escalation or war, but will defend ourselves against any aggression.
— Javad Zarif (@JZarif) January 8, 2020
The US Federal Aviation Administration said it would ban US carriers from operating in the airspace over Iraq, Iran, the Gulf and the Gulf of Oman. Singapore Airlines had already diverted all flight routes from Iranian airspace.