No US deaths after Iran launches missile attack against military at 2 bases in Iraq; Trump tweets 'all is well,' says he'll give statement

David Caplan
January 08, 2020 - 7:19 am
Iran missile strike

FARS News Agency

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UPDATE: Trump will address Iran’s rocket attack at 11 a.m. from the White House

NEW YORK (1010 WINS) -- Iran launched "more than a dozen ballistic missiles" at two bases in Iraq that house U.S. troops in retaliation for the killing of Iran's top general, the Pentagon confirmed Tuesday night. 

One analyst says Iran's missile strike against U.S. forces in Iraq was “the smallest attack that Iran could carry out while at the same time being able to say they got revenge."

Peter Viggo Jakobsen, an associate professor with the Royal Danish Defense College, added Wednesday that Iran has "done all that is possible to avoid American casualties. 

The attack took place around 5:30 p.m. ET.  A U.S. official told the Associated Press that 15 missiles were fired in the attack. Ten struck the Ain al-Asad air base in Iraq’s western Anbar province. One struck a base in Irbil in Iraq's semiautonomous Kurdish region. Four missiles failed to hit their targets.

The Asad base houses about 1,500 U.S. and coalition forces. CNN reports that the missiles appear to have hit a part of the Asad base "not populated by U.S. forces."

President Trump tweeted shortly before 10 p.m. that "All is well!" and that an assessment of casualties and damages is taking place.

"Missiles launched from Iran at two military bases located in Iraq. Assessment of casualties & damages taking place now. So far, so good!" the president tweeted. "We have the most powerful and well equipped military anywhere in the world, by far! I will be making a statement tomorrow morning."

The official newspaper of the Iranian government responded to Trump's tweet, calling it "passive," according to translations. "Trump's passive tweet in response to Iran's heavy attacks: all is well!" the tweet reads in part.

(Below is video of the attack, according to Iran's FARS News Agency)

The Pentagon said in a statement, "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. We are working on initial battle damage assessments."

The statement continued, "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 and interests in the region. 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."

Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps took credit for the attack, which Iranian TV said was a revenge attack over the killing of Revolutionary Guard Gen. Qassem Soleimani.

State TV said the operation’s name was “Marytr Soleimani.” It said the Guard’s aerospace division, which controls Iran’s missile program, launched the attack.

Iran’s Revolutionary Guard warned the U.S. and its regional allies against retaliating over the missile attack in Iraq. The Guard issued the warning via a statement carried by Iran’s state-run IRNA news agency.

“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,” The Guard said. It also threatened Israel.

Javad Zarif, the foreign minister of Iran, said in a tweet that Iran does not seek an escalation or war with the United States.

"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," Zarif wrote. "We do not seek escalation or war, but will defend ourselves against any aggression."

After the missile attack, Saeed Jalili, an adviser to the Supreme Leader of Iran, tweeted a photo of the Iranian flag. It appeared to be in response to a tweet of the U.S. flag that Trump posted after Soleimani was killed in a drone strike by the U.S. last week.

Earlier Tuesday evening, White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham tweeted: "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."

Vice President Mike Pence's press secretary, Katie Waldman wrote on Twitter: "Vice President Pence was briefed on Iran’s attacks on bases hosting U.S. military and coalition forces in Iraq. The VP has been in continuous contact with the entire national security team and, at the President’s direction, VP Pence completed calls to Congressional leadership."

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi wrote on Twitter Tuesday night: "We must ensure the safety of our servicemembers, including ending needless provocations from the Administration and demanding that Iran cease its violence. America & world cannot afford war."

Earlier in the day on Tuesday, a stampede broke out at Soleimani's funeral and at least 56 people were killed and more than 200 were injured as thousands thronged the procession, Iranian news reports said. The deadly stampede took place in Soleimani's hometown of Kerman as his coffin was being borne through the city in southeastern Iran, said Pirhossein Koulivand, head of Iran’s emergency medical services.

The U.S. blames Soleimani for killing U.S. troops in Iraq and accused him of plotting new attacks just before he was killed.

Soleimani's slaying already has led Tehran to abandon the remaining limits of its 2015 nuclear deal with world powers as his successor and others vow to take revenge.

In Iraq, pro-Iranian factions in parliament have pushed to oust American troops from Iraqi soil following Soleimani's killing.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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