Iran launched more than a dozen ballistic missiles at two airbases housing U.S. forces tonight, prompting former Iran nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili to wordlessly tweet an image of the Iranian flag — just as President Trump tweeted the American flag after killing IRGC Quds Force commander Qassem Soleimani.
Pentagon spokesman Jonathan Hoffman said the missiles, which struck Ain al-Asad air base west of Baghdad as well as Erbil in Kurdistan, were fired at 5:30 p.m. EST, just hours after Soleimani’s public funeral.
“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 Irbil,” Hoffman said, adding that DoD was “working on initial battle damage assessments.”
Iraqi officials did not report any casualties among their forces.
“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,” he said. “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.”
The State Department said Kurdistan Regional Government Prime Minister Masrour Barzani and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo spokes about the missile strikes by phone. Trump tweeted, “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.”
Iran Foreign Minister Javad Zarif tweeted that his country “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.”
“We do not seek escalation or war, but will defend ourselves against any aggression,” he added.