Iran fires ballistic missiles at US bases in Iraq over Soleimani's death

By Staff reporter , Garowe Online

IRAN - Tehran made good of its threats following the murder of General Qassem Soleimani, the leader of Iran Revolutionary Guard Corps.

Over 30 missiles were fired at two major US bases in Iraq, something that could escalate into a possible war between the two nations.

Al Asad Air Base, along with an airbase near Erbil in northern Iraq, were targeted in retaliation for a drone strike by the United States on Friday that killed Maj. Gen. Qassim Suleimani.

President Donald Trump had on Saturday said the death of Gen Qassem Soleimani "was to end the war and not to start one", adding that "he was a dangerous man".

The editor in chief of Mashregh, the main news website for Iran’s Revolutionary Guards, said more than 30 ballistic missiles had been fired at the American base at Asad.

Pentagon confirmed the latest attack on US forces but could not immediately establish the number of casualties. Trump has been briefed.

“The president has been briefed and is monitoring the situation closely and consulting with his national security team,” the White House said in a statement.

But on his Twitter account, Trump said "so far so good. We have the most powerful and well-equipped military anywhere in the world, by far".

On Tuesday, Trump rescinded his decision to wage fiery attacks on Iran's cultural sites after he was warned that the move was inappropriate.

"I will be making a statement tomorrow morning (Wednesday)," Trump said, adding that an assessment is being done to establish the damage.

In a statement, the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps, an elite wing of the Iranian military that is also known as the IRGC, said the attacks were "hard revenge" for the death of Soleimani.

The IRGC said in the statement that any country housing US troops could be subject to "hostile and aggressive acts" and called on American citizens to demand the government remove US troops from the region.

During the funeral of Soleimani which attracted millions of people, top Iranian officials called for "crushing revenge" against the United States.

The slain general, who was highly regarded by Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei, is credited for crushing ISIS in Iraq.

"To the Great Satan ... we warn that if you repeat your wickedness or take any additional movements or make additional aggression, we will respond with more painful and crushing responses," the statement to the US read.

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said on Twitter that the response was meant to be proportionate to the American attack that killed Soleimani.

"Iran 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," Zarif tweeted.

"We do not seek an escalation of the war, but will defend ourselves against any aggression."

But Iranian state television said at least 80 "American terrorists" were killed in attacks involving 15 missiles Tehran, adding that none of the missiles were intercepted.

State TV, citing a senior Revolutionary Guards Corps source, also said Iran had 100 other targets in the region in its sights if Washington took any retaliatory measures.

It also said US helicopters and military equipment were "severely damaged during the daring attack".

Also, the Iranian state media on Wednesday quoted IRGC saying that the latest revenge was the "weakest" among Iran's many options.