January 8, 2020 – In Breaking News – BCC News
More than a dozen missiles launched from Iran struck two air bases in Irbil and Al Asad, west of Baghdad.
It is unclear if there have been any casualties.
(A U.S. official confirmed the missiles were aimed at Erbil in northern Iraq and Al Asad Air Base in western Iraq and came days after U.S. forces killed Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani. Courtesy of ABC News and YouTube. Posted on Jan 8, 2020.)
The initial response from Washington has been muted.
President Trump tweeted that all was well and said casualties and damage were being assessed.
Two Iraqi bases housing US and coalition troops were targeted, one at Al Asad and one in Irbil, at about 02:00 local time on Wednesday (22:30 GMT on Tuesday).
It came just hours after the burial of Soleimani, who controlled Iran’s proxy forces across the Middle East.
(Iran fired more than a dozen missiles at U.S. troops and coalition forces in Iraq on Tuesday, an apparent retaliation for a U.S. drone strike days earlier that killed one of Tehran’s most powerful generals, Qasem Soleimani. Courtesy of USA TODAY and YouTube. Posted on Jan 8, 2020.)
Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei said the attack was “a slap in the face” for the US and called for an end to the US presence in the Middle East.
Echoing him, President Hassan Rouhani said Iran’s “final answer” to Soleimani’s assassination would be to “kick all US forces out of the region”.
Iraq’s Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi said Iran warned him that an attack was imminent and only areas with US troops would be targeted.
There were no reports of Iraqi casualties, he said.
Just hours after the missile strikes a Ukrainian airliner crashed in Iran shortly after take-off.
There is no evidence that the two incidents are linked.
Several airlines have announced they are avoiding both Iranian and Iraqi airspace amid the rising tension.
(A Boeing 737 passenger airplane crashed in Iran’s capital of Tehran with 176 passengers and crew on board. CNN’s Richard Quest has the latest on the technical difficulties that reportedly brought down the Ukraine International Airlines flight. Courtesy of CNN and YouTube. Posted on Jan 8, 2020.)
Is this the end of the escalation?
This is the most direct assault by Iran on the US since the seizing of the US embassy in Tehran in 1979.
Iran’s Revolutionary Guards said the attack was in retaliation for the death of Soleimani on Friday – killed in a missile strike outside Baghdad airport on the orders of President Trump – and warned US allies that their bases could also be targeted.
Iran’s Defence Minister Amir Hatami said Iran’s response to any US retaliation would be proportional to the US action.
But Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said the attack was self-defence and denied seeking to escalate the situation into war.
(Speaking at an event commemorating the 1978 Qom protest – a key event leading up to the Islamic Revolution – Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei says “the country is equipped today against the bullies of the world”. Courtesy of BBC News and YouTube. Posted on Jan 8, 2020.)
Continue reading… Iran attack: US troops targeted with ballistic missiles
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