Iran Bombs U.S. Bases in Iraq
Iran fired more than a dozen missiles at two U.S. military targets in Iraq Tuesday night in retaliation for U.S. President Donald Trump’s decision last week to kill Qassem Soleimani, the leader of Iran’s military and intelligence force.
A spokesperson for U.S. Central Command told Vox.com that Iran fired 15 missiles. Ten missiles struck the al-Asad airbase west of Baghdad. One hit Erbil in Iraq’s northern region. Four missiles failed. According to various media reports, U.S. military members were able to track the launches with radar, giving personnel time to take cover. Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps claimed responsibility for the strikes.
Early unconfirmed reports indicated that there no casualties in the bombing. Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps claimed that dozens of U.S. troops were killed in the strikes, but no evidence of that has emerged.
In an address delivered at about 11:30 a.m. ET, President Trump reiterated that there werw no casualties in the strikes, and that "Iran appears to be standing down." He also said new sanctions on Iran would be imposed.
Over the last few days, Iranian leaders had signaled that they would strike U.S. military targets in response to Soleimani’s killing. Since Iran does not have missiles that can reach the U.S. mainland from Iran, it was generally expected that the country would strike U.S. targets and allies in the Middle East.
According to a statement from Iraq's Prime Minister Adil Abdul Mahdi, Iraq received an official verbal message from Iran about the missile attack shortly before midnight on Wednesday. He said Iraq was told that the strike would be "limited to the whereabouts of the U.S. military in Iraq, without giving the exact location."
However, it is now unclear if there will be more retaliation from Iran in the future. Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif tweeted that “Iran took and concluded proportionate measures in self-defense.” Some analysts argued that “concluded” signaled that Iran may be looking to de-escalate. Others posited that in the past, Iran has waited months to retaliate by attacking a soft target and inflicting significant casualties.