Iran strikes US airbases
TEHRAN, Iran (AP):
Iran struck back at the United States for the killing of a top Iranian general early Wednesday (yesterday evening Jamaica time), firing a series of ballistic missiles at two Iraqi bases housing US troops, and warning the United States and its allies in the region not to retaliate.
The strikes by Iran were a major escalation of tensions that have been rising steadily across the Mideast following months of threats and attacks after President Donald Trump’s decision to unilaterally withdraw America from Tehran’s nuclear deal with world powers. Iranian state TV said the attack was in revenge for the US killing of Revolutionary Guard General Qassem Soleimani, whose funeral procession Tuesday in his hometown of Kerman prompted angry calls to avenge his death.
Soleimani’s killing and Iran’s missile strikes also marked the first time in recent years that Washington and Tehran have attacked each other directly rather than through proxies in the region. It raised the chances of open conflict erupting between the two nations, which have been foes since the days immediately following Iran’s 1979 Islamic Revolution.
US officials confirmed both strikes, though Iran only initially acknowledged targeting one base. There was no immediate word on injuries.
Iran’s Revolutionary Guard warned the US and its regional allies against retaliating over the missile attack against the Ain al-Asad airbase in Iraq’s western Anbar province. The Guard issued the warning via a statement carried by Iran’s state-run IRNA news agency.
WARNING TO US ALLIES
“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.
After the strikes, a former Iranian nuclear negotiator posted a picture of the Islamic Republic’s flag on Twitter, appearing to mimic Trump who posted an American flag following the killing of Soleimani and others last Friday in a drone strike in Baghdad.
Ain al-Asad airbase was first used by American forces after the 2003 US-led invasion that toppled dictator Saddam Hussein, and later saw American troops stationed there amid the fight against the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria. It houses about 1,500 US and coalition forces.