Iran fires rockets at US military facilities in Iraq

Iran fires rockets at US military facilities in Iraq
Iran fires rockets at US military facilities in Iraq

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Hind Al Soulia - Riyadh - Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) fired more than a dozen missiles at least two locations in Iraq, including a joint Iraqi-US base late on Tuesday, in a retaliation for the targeted killing of its most senior military general last week.

The Ain Al Asad base and a US military facility in Erbil in northern Iraq was targeted by ballistic missiles, the Pentagon said.

The Pentagon said there were no casualties confirmed so far. It confirmed that the rockets were fired from Iranian territory.

Iran state television said the IRGC launched the attack, which is described as revenge for the killing of Gen Qassem Suleimani.

"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 in a statement carried by Iran's state-run IRNA news agency.

The attacks took place just hours after the burying of the military general.

Top US military advisers arrived at the White House following the attacks, including Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Defence Secretary Mark Esper.

Vice President Mike Pence has been in contact with congressional leaders, his spokeswoman said.

US President Donald was surprisingly silent on Twitter following the attack.

"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," White House communications director Stephanie Grisham said.

US President Donald Trump visited the Ain Al Asad base in 2018.

A statement from assistant to the secretary of defence for public affairs Jonathan Hoffman said the Pentagon was working on "initial battle damage assessments".

"In recent days and in response to Iranian threats and actions, the Department of Defence has take all appropriate measures to safeguard our personnel and our 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," the statement said.

"As we evaluate the situation and our response, we will take all necessary measures to protect and defend US personnel, partners, and allies in the region."

The price of oil spiked by over four per cent following news of the attack, from $62.70 to $63.67, as investors were spooked at the heightening tensions in the Gulf. Over the course of the US-Iran conflict, Gold prices have risen to highs not seen since 2013.

Earlier on Tuesday, US Secretary of Defence Mark Esper said he fully expected Tehran to retaliate for the planned hit on Suleimani.

"I think we should expect they will retaliate in some way, shape or form," the Pentagon chief told reporters at the Pentagon on Tuesday.

Also on Tuesday, President Trump said a US withdrawal of troops from Iraq would be the worst thing for the country. The US currently has about 5,000 troops stationed in Iraq.

Those comments came a day after a letter was leaked, which was sent from a US commander to his Iraqi counterpart to plan the withdrawal of American troops from Iraq.

Updated: January 8, 2020 06:02 AM

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