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Tuesday, January 7, 2020

Iran Says ‘Fierce Attack Has Begun’ As Rockets Hit Iraq Bases

Iran Says ‘Fierce Attack Has Begun’ As Rockets Hit Iraq Bases

The Pentagon says Iran has fired more than a dozen ballistic missiles at Iraqi bases housing American troops at al-Asad and Irbil.

The Pentagon said it was working on a battle damage assessment. There have been no reported U.S. casualties, according to two U.S. sources with direct knowledge of actions on the ground.

“At approximately 5:30 p.m. (EST) on January 7, Iran launched more than a dozen ballistic missiles against U.S. military and coalition forces in Iraq. 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,” the Pentagon said in an emailed statement Tuesday.

A statement from Iran said the “fierce revenge by the Revolutionary Guards has begun.”

Iran claimed it had fired dozens of ballistic missiles at the Iraqi base housing coalition troops at al-Asad, according to Iran state-run media.

“This morning, courageous fighters of the IRGC’s [Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps] Air Force launched a successful operation called Operation Martyr Soleimani under the code “Ya Zahra” by firing dozens of ground-to-ground missiles, occupying the air base of the terrorist army and the American invaders at the 'Ain al-Assad base" Iran state-run media Iranian Students News Agency reported.

The number of U.S. troops stationed at Irbil and al-Asad is unknown, but both bases are known to house American commandos. The al-Asad base also houses some U.S. aviation assets. U.S. Central Command and the Pentagon have not confirmed if there are any American casualties.

Iran Says ‘Fierce Attack Has Begun’ As Rockets Hit Iraq Bases

“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," the Pentagon said.

There were unconfirmed rumors on social media of a rocket attack near Taji.

The IRGC warned the U.S. not to retaliate.

“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.

Iranian military officials and political elites have called for retaliation for the U.S. airstrike that killed revered Iranian Quds Force commander Qassem Soleimani.

Phillip Smyth, a research fellow with the Washington Institute, said Iran’s attack against American troops was a major escalation.

“Launching a ballistic missile from Iran at an American target is quite the signal to send. This may just be one of a number of different responses that the Iranians engage in,” Smyth said.

It’s unknown at this time what type of ballistic missile was fired by Iran. Iran has a vast array of missiles, with some capable of hitting Israel and Eastern Europe.

The Shahab 1 and Qiam missiles boast ranges of 300 km and 800 km respectively and may have been in range to strike the Iraqi bases.

“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 Pentagon said.

Amid reports that Iran had put air force assets into the sky, the Federal Aviation Administration issued an order for all U.S. carriers and registered aircraft to avoid operating in the airspace over Iraq, Iran, and the waters of the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman.

[ By Military Times ]

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