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Tens of Iranian missiles hit US airbase in Iraq, Pentagon assesses damages

It is not yet known whether any casualties resulted from the missile strike or what kind of damage was sustained

Wednesday January 8, 2020 9:26 AM, IANS

Iran Airstrikes

Washington: At least 10 rockets of unknown type on Wednesday hit the Al Asad airbase in central Iraq, where numerous US troops are stationed, in what appears to be the first retaliatory strike by Iran in the wake of the US drone strike that killed Iranian Quds Force commander Gen. Qasem Soleimani last week in Baghdad.

The Pentagon has confirmed that Iran has launched more than a dozen ballistic missiles against the US military and coalition forces in Iraq.

"At approximately 5.30 p.m. (US time) on January 7, Iran launched more than a dozen ballistic missiles against US military and coalition forces in Iraq," Xinhua news agency quoted the Pentagon as saying in a statement.

"It is clear that these missiles were launched from Iran and targeted at least two Iraqi military bases hosting US military and coalition personnel at Ayn al Asad and Irbil," the statement added.

These bases were already put on high alert due to indications that Iran planned to attack the US forces and interests in the region, the statement noted.

The Pentagon further said that it would take all necessary measures to protect and defend US personnel, partners, and allies in the region.

It is not yet known whether any casualties resulted from the missile strike or what kind of damage was sustained at the base. It is also not precisely known how many missiles were fired or what type they were.

Furthermore, it is not known whether US anti-missile defences at the base were able to intercept any of the incoming missiles, Efe news reported.

The White House said that President Donald Trump was informed of the attack and is in contact with his national security team, while state-run Iranian media are saying that the Revolutionary Guards mounted the attack.

"This morning, courageous fighters of the (Iranian Revolutionary Guard) Air Force launched a successful operation called Operation Martyr Soleimani, with the code 'Oh Zahra' by firing tens of ground-to-ground missiles at the base of the terrorist and invasive US forces named Ain Al Asad," Iran's ISNA news agency reported.

ABC News reported that a US official confirmed that "ballistic missiles" were fired from inside Iran at multiple US military facilities in Iraq, including Erbil in northern Iraq and the Al Asad Air Base in western Iraq.

"We are aware of the reports of attacks on US facilities in Iraq," White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham said a statement. "The President has been briefed and is monitoring the situation closely and consulting with his national security team."

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