Iran launches strikes on US troops in Iraq

Iran launches strikes on US troops in Iraq

Iran missile attacks target U.S. forces in
Iraq; Trump says ‘All is well!’. Iran launched a missile attack on U.S.-led
forces in Iraq in the early hours of Wednesday in retaliation for the U.S. drone strike on
an Iranian commander whose killing has raised fears of a wider war in the Middle East. Iran fired more than a dozen ballistic missiles
from its territory against at least two Iraqi facilities hosting U.S.-led coalition personnel
at about 1:30 a.m. (2230 GMT), the U.S. military said. U.S. President Donald Trump said in a tweet
late on Tuesday that an assessment of casualties and damage from the strikes was under way
and that he would make a statement on Wednesday morning. “All is well!” Trump, who visited the
al-Asad air base in December 2018, said in the Twitter post. One source said early indications were of
no U.S. casualties. Other U.S. officials declined to comment. Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps
confirmed they fired the missiles in retaliation for last week’s killing of Qassem Soleimani,
according to a statement on state TV. The force advised the United States to withdraw
its troops from the region to prevent more deaths and warned U.S. allies including Israel
not to allow attacks from their territories. Pentagon spokesman Jonathan Hoffman said in
a statement that the bases targeted were al-Asad air base and another facility in Erbil, Iraq. “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.” Hours earlier on Tuesday, U.S. Defense Secretary
Mark Esper said the United States should anticipate retaliation from Iran over Friday’s killing
in Iraq of Soleimani, commander of the elite Quds Force. “I think we should expect that they will
retaliate in some way, shape or form,” he told a news briefing at the Pentagon, adding
that such retaliation could be through Iran-backed proxy groups outside of Iran or “by their
own hand.” Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif
said Iran “took & concluded proportionate measures in self-defense under Article 51
of the U.N. Charter”, targeting the bases where the attack against its citizens and
senior officials was launched. “We do not seek escalation or war, but will
defend ourselves against any aggression,” he wrote in a post on Twitter. If the U.S. military was indeed spared casualties,
and Iran has completed its threatened retaliation for the U.S. drone strike on Soleimani, as
Zarif suggested, there might be an opportunity for Washington and Tehran to seek an off-ramp
to their increasingly violent confrontation. Asian stock markets, which had been roiled
by the attack, pared some of their losses after the tweets from Trump and Zarif. U.S. crude prices CLc1 also retreated after
surging almost 5% on worries any conflict could cut oil supplies.

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