Two airbases housing the United States’ and coalition troops in Iraq have been hit with multiple missiles by the Iranian military, Iranian state media has confirmed.
According to a statement issued by Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and published on the state broadcaster on Wednesday morning, the Al-Asad airbase was hit with “tens of missiles”.
The IRGC said the attack was in retaliation for the killing of Qasem Soleimani, a top Iranian commander, on Friday.
“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,” it said via a statement carried by Iran’s state-run IRNA news agency.
It is not yet known if there have been any casualties.
The attack comes after Soleimani, Head of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps’ Quds Force, was killed in a drone strike in Baghdad, the Iraqi capital, on Friday, on the orders of US President, Donald Trump.
Iran had threatened “severe revenge” for Soleimani’s death.
The missiles were reportedly fired at the same time the drone strike killed Soleimani last Friday, according to various media reports.
In a statement issued by Iraqi military on Wednesday, it said 22 missiles were launched by Iran in total. Two of the 17 missiles targeting Al Asad did not go off, while the five on Erbil all targeted the military coalition headquarters.
Mohammed Javad Zarif, Iran’s Foreign Minister, later wrote on Twitter, saying his country acted in “self-defence” under the UN regulations.
Zarif, who has been denied visa by the US government to travel to the United Nations headquarters in New York, however, insisted that his country is not seeking to escalate the situation into a war with the US.
“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,” he tweeted.
The White House in a statement said it is aware of the attacks and that President Trump is monitoring the situation.
“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,” Stephanie Grisham, White House spokesperson, said in a statement.
The Pentagon in a later statement confirmed that two of its bases in Al-Asad and Erbil in Iraq were hit with a dozen of ballistic missiles. It stated that the missiles were fired from Iran and the weapons either had short or medium range capacity.
“At approximately 5:30 p.m. (EST) on January 7, Iran launched more than a dozen ballistic missiles against U.S. 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 U.S. military and coalition personnel at Al-Assad and Erbil”, Jonathan Hoffman, the assistant to the Secretary of Defence for Public Affairs, said in a statement.
It added that “we are working on initial battle damage assessments”.
President Trump wrote a post on Twitter 13 minutes after Zarif wrote his, saying “all is well” and “so far, so good”.
“All is well! Missiles launched from Iran at two military bases located in Iraq. 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,” the US President tweeted.