Five days after US airstrikes killed Iranian General Qasem Soleimani, Iran has launched missile strikes against two Iraqi military bases housing US forces in retaliation. More than twelve ballistic missiles were launched by Iran to target the Al Asad and Erbil military bases, the Pentagon said on Tuesday.
According to the reports, a total of 15 missiles were fired by Iran, ten striking Al-Assad airbase, west of Baghdad and at least two missiles in Erbil. One missile landed inside the perimeter of Erbil International Airport without exploding, while the second missile hit an area 33 kilometres west of the city of Erbil without causing casualties.
#WATCH: Iran launched over a dozen ballistic missiles at 5:30 p.m. (EST) on January 7 and targeted at least two Iraqi military bases hosting US military and coalition personnel at Al-Assad and Irbil, in Iraq. pic.twitter.com/xQkf9lG6AP
— ANI (@ANI) January 8, 2020
Iran’s state TV boasted about the operation, which was named ‘Martyr Soleimani’, in the memory of the Revolutionary Guard leader killed in a US drone strike. The launch was done to seek revenge for the killing of leading general Qasem Soleimani.
Reportedly, the missile attacks on US targets in Iraq is the first step and Tehran will not spare American troops, stated a senior Iranian Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) commander.
“The missile attacks today were just the first step. US President Donald Trump should think about withdrawing its troops from the region and not to leave them within our reach,” Iranian state TV quoted the commander as saying, without naming him.
The statement advised the United States to withdraw its troops from the region to prevent more deaths, state TV said.
Following the attacks, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said that Iran took what it considered to be proportionate measures and does not seek an escalation of the war.
“Iran took & concluded proportionate measures in self-defence 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,” Zarif tweeted.
As per reports, Iranian media is reporting that Iran will not launch any more attacks if the US keeps silent after this.
Ain al-Asad airbase was first used by American forces after the 2003 US-led invasion that toppled dictator Saddam Hussein, and later saw American troops stationed there amid the fight against the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria. It houses about 1,500 U.S. and coalition forces. The base was already on high-alert and recently paused their operation against ISIS fearing a revenge attack by Iran.
Meanwhile, President Trump has tweeted that he will be making a statement on Wednesday morning following the missile attack at two Iraqi bases that house US troops.
“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!” he said.
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.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 8, 2020
General Qasem Suleimani, the most powerful military commander of Iran, was killed by US forces is a drone strike near Baghdad. Following his death, Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei had vowed to take “severe revenge” against the US for killing Suleimani.
Also, Iran had unfurled a red flag on top of the iconic The Holy Dome of Jamkaran Mosque in Qom, which is an old Shi’ite tradition symbolising bloody revenge.