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Iran fires missiles at US troop bases in Iraq: What we know so far

Reuters, AFP, AP
Filed on January 8, 2020 | Last updated on January 8, 2020 at 03.12 pm
Iran fires ballistic missiles, Iraq, US forces

(Image: IRNA News Agency)

At least two airbases housing US troops in Iraq have been hit by more than a dozen ballistic missiles.

Iran launched a missile attack on US-led forces in Iraq in the early hours of Wednesday in retaliation for the US drone strike on an Iranian commander whose killing has raised fears of a wider war in the Middle East.

Tehran fired more than a dozen ballistic missiles from Iranian territory against at least two Iraqi military bases hosting US-led coalition personnel at about 1.30am local time, the US military said on Tuesday.

The Pentagon did not provide reports of casualties in the attack.


Highlights:

Iran fired more than a dozen ballistic missiles against at least two Iraqi military bases hosting US-led coalition personnel??

US not aware of any casualties from Iran's missile strikes on Iraqi military bases but situation still being assessed

President Donald Trump says he will make a statement in the morning

Iran's Revolutionary Guards say they fired the missiles in retaliation for the killing of Qassem Soleimani   


US 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.

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.

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said Iran "took & concluded proportionate measures in self-defense under Article 51 of the UN Charter", targeting the bases where the attack against its citizens and senior officials was launched.

Asian stock markets, which had been roiled by the attack, pared some of their losses after the tweets from Trump and Zarif. US crude prices also retreated after surging almost 5 per cent on worries any conflict could cut oil supplies.


The latest on US-Iran tensions:


3:05pm

US Embassy in Jordan issues security warning

The US Embassy in Jordan has issued a security warning to American government personnel to avoid "non-essential" movements following the Iranian missile strike.

In a tweet Wednesday, the embassy says that "out of an abundance of caution" American children should also be kept home from school. The embassy in Amman remains open.


2:45pm

Finland had advance warning of strike

Finland's defense forces say they received advance warning of the Iranian missile strike against bases in Iraq used by US troops.

The defence forces gave no details, Finnish newspaper Ilta-Sanomat reported.

They added that Finnish troops at the base in Erbil that was targeted were were protected in a bomb shelter and were not hurt.


2:30pm

China concerned about Mideast spike in tensions

China's foreign ministry is expressing concern about the spike in tensions in the Middle East and says it hopes matters can swiftly "cool off."

Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang told reporters that Beijing has called for restraint by all sides and is in close consultation with the governments involved, including at the United Nations and through China's embassy in Baghdad.

Geng also accused the US of abusing the rights of people in the region through its military actions.


1:05pm

Spain says it has withdrawn some of its troops from Iraq

Spain has pulled out some of its troops from Iraq due to security concerns, acting Deputy Prime Minister Carmen Calvo said.

"Those who were in riskier positions have left for Kuwait," Calvo told state broadcaster RTVE. "There is only a reduced number left there."

The decision comes as NATO announced it would move some of its military training personnel out of Iraq amid fears of a regional conflagration.


1:01pm

Air France suspends flights over Iraq and Iran airspace

France's airline Air France said on Wednesday the company has suspended flights over Iraq and Iran airspace.

"Flight plans are adjusted in real time according to the decisions of the French and regional authorities, throughout the world, in order to ensure the highest level of flight safety", Air France said in a statement.


12:50pm

EU calls Iran rocket attacks 'escalation' 

EU's diplomatic chief on Wednesday condemned Iran's rocket attacks on Iraqi bases housing US troops, urging an end to the "spiral of violence".

"The latest rocket attacks on air bases in Iraq used by US and coalition forces, among them European forces, are yet another example of escalation and increased confrontation," Josep Borrell told reporters.


12:45pm

France has no plan to withdraw soldiers from Iraq

France is not planning to withdraw its 160 soldiers deployed in Iraq following Iranian missile strikes, a French government source said.

A French army spokesman previously said there had been no French military casualties in Iraq from the Iranian strikes.


12:40pm

Germany 'strongly condemns' missile attacks

Germany's defence minister condemned Iranian missile attacks on Iraqi bases housing coalition military, and called on Tehran to end a "spiral" of conflict.

"The German government strongly condemns this aggression... it is now primarily up to the Iranians to refrain from further escalation," Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer told broadcaster ARD.


12:20pm

One Iranian missile lands in field outside Irbil

At least one missile from the Iranian strike against US forces in Iraq landed in a field near Bardarash, about 50 kilometers (31 miles) from Irbil, the capital of Iraq's self-governing Kurdish region.

An Iraqi Kurdish channel, Rudaw TV, showed video of police inspecting the impact site and removing shrapnel. No casualties were reported but residents said the earth shook upon impact, and one man was seen cleaning up slight damage to his house on a nearby street.


12:00pm

Philippines sending planes, ship to evacuate workers

The Philippines will dispatch cargo planes and a ship to help evacuate Filipino migrant workers from Iraq after ordering its citizens to leave following an missile strike, officials said.

Manila issued the mandatory evacuation order for its nationals after the Islamic republic carried out its first act of promised revenge for the US killing last week of a top Iranian general


11:10am

Magnitude 4.5 quake hits near Iran nuclear power plant
 
The quake, which had a depth of 10 kilometres, struck 17 kilometres south-southeast of Borazjan city at 6:49 am (0319 GMT), the US Geological Survey said on its website.

State news agency IRNA said the earthquake was felt in Bushehr, site of the country's sole nuclear power plant.


11:01am

Iraq says no troop casualties in Iranian strike

The Iraqi military says there are no casualties among its troops as a result of an Iranian missile strike at bases in Iraq used by US forces.

The military said in a statement carried by the state news agency Wednesday that the attack lasted half an hour, starting at 1:45am local time.


10:58am

Britain condemns attack

"We condemn this attack on Iraqi military bases hosting Coalition - including British - forces," British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said.

"We urge Iran not to repeat these reckless and dangerous attacks, and instead to pursue urgent de-escalation."


10:50am

UAE energy minister sees no immediate risk to oil flow through Strait of Hormuz


10:30am

Iraqi oil facilities are secured and the country's production is continuing, OPEC's Secretary General Mohammed Barkindo said on Wednesday.

"It's a big relief that the facilities continue to be secured in Iraq, the production is continuing and effective," Barkindo said on the sidelines of a conference in Abu Dhabi,


10:10am

Emirates, flydubai cancel Baghdad flights

"We are carefully monitoring the developments and are in close contact with the relevant government authorities with regards to our flight operations, and will make further operational changes if required," Emirates said in a statement.

flydubai, also cancelled a Wednesday flight to Baghdad.


9:44am

Travel warning issued for Pakistanis

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesperson, Aisha Farooqui, issued a statement on Wednesday urging Pakistanis to exercise caution while visiting Iraq, asking its citizens currently in the country to remain in close contact with the embassy in Baghdad.


8:44am

80 US troops  killed in missile strikes: Iranian state TV

Iranian state television said on Wednesday that at least 80 "US troops" were killed in attacks involving 15 missiles Tehran launched on US targets in Iraq, adding that none of the missiles were intercepted.

State TV, citing a senior Revolutionary Guards 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".


8:40am

India issues travel warning on Iraq

India on Wednesday issued a travel warning asking its citizens to avoid "non-essential" travel to Iraq, hours after Iran launched missile attacks on US-led forces in Iraq.

In view of the prevailing situation in Iraq, Indian nationals are advised to avoid all non-essential travel to Iraq until further notification," India's foreign ministry said in a statement.


"Indian nationals residing in Iraq are advised to be alert and may avoid travel within Iraq," it said, adding that the Indian embassy in Baghdad and consulate in Erbil remain operational.


8:30am

Philippines orders citizens in Iraq to leave

The Philippines has ordered its citizens to leave Iraq, the Philippine foreign ministry said on Wednesday.

"The alert level in the entire Iraq has been raised to alert level 4 calling for mandatory evacuation," said Eduardo Menez, spokesman at the Department of Foreign Affairs.

A Philippine coastguard patrol vessel, newly acquired from France and en route to the Philippines, was ordered to sail to Oman and Dubai to assist Filipinos who may need to be extricated.

"Overseas Filipino workers will be brought to safer ports where there may be airlifted, as the need arises," the coastguard said in a statement.


8:20am

Japan calls for easing of Middle East tensions

Japan says it will urge governments to do their utmost to help ease tensions following an Iranian missile strike at bases in Iraq used by US forces.

The strike came in retaliation for the killing of an Iranian general.

Japanese Chief Cabinet spokesman Yoshihide Suga said Wednesday that his "government will coordinate with the related governments to collect intelligence while we ensure the safety of Japanese citizens in the region."

He added: "Japan will also urge all related nations to do their utmost diplomatic effort to improve the relations."


8:05am

Australia says its troops in Iraq are safe

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison says all of his country's troops and diplomatic staff in Iraq are safe after Iran's firing of missiles at two military bases there.

Around 300 Australian defense personnel are stationed in Iraq.

Morrison said he spoke with President Donald Trump about the situation between the U.S. and Iran on Tuesday during a call about the wildfires raging in Australia.

Sepaking to reporters Wednesday, Morrison said in reference to the killing of Revolutionary Guard Gen. Qassem Soleimani: "The United States have taken the action that they have to address what has been intelligence that they say that they received, which was putting their interests at risks and under threat."


7:55am

Ukrainian airplane crashes near Tehran

A Ukrainian airplane carrying 180 passengers and crew crashed Wednesday near an airport in the capital, Tehran, state TV reported. There was no immediate word on casualties.

The plane had taken off from Imam Khomeini International Airport, the report said. The crash is suspected to have been caused by mechanical issues, it added, without elaborating.

An investigation team was at the site of the crash in southwestern outskirts of Tehran, civil aviation spokesman Reza Jafarzadeh said. 


7:45am

Iran's missiles hit intended US targets in Iraq, source tells state TV

Iranian missiles hit intended U.S. targets in Iraq on Wednesday, Iran's English-language Press TV quoted an unnamed source as saying, after Tehran launched missile attacks on U.S.-led forces.
"Missile tracking shows they hit intended American targets in Iraq," television said.


7:10am

Trump tweets 'All is well!' after missile attack

President Donald Trump says "All is well!" after more than a dozen Iranian missiles were fired at two bases housing US troops in Iraq.

Trump tweets that casualty and damage assessments are ongoing but adds, "So far, so good!"

He says he will be making a statement on the strikes Wednesday morning.


6:50am

Iran calls missile attack 'self-defense'

Iran is not seeking escalation or war, Iranian Foreign Minister tweeted after Tehran hit US targets in Iraq on Wednesday, adding that Tehran would defend itself against any aggression.

"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. We do not seek escalation or war, but will defend ourselves against any aggression," Mohammad Javad Zarif tweeted.

 


6:40am

General buried after stampede, missile attack

Iran has buried a top Revolutionary Guard general slain by US airstrike in Baghdad after a stampede at his funeral killed 56 and Iran launched a ballistic missile attack on Iraqi bases housing American troops in response.

Officials lowered the shroud-wrapped remains of Qassem Soleimani into the ground in the southeastern city of Kerman just before 6am Wednesday.

Mourners at the grave site wailed.


6:00am

Iran minister tells US: "Get the hell out of our region"


After Iran launched missile attacks on US targets in Iraq, the country's telecommunication minister tweeted: "Get the hell out of our region" in Iran's first official reaction to the attacks.


5:45am

FAA restricts US flights over Iran, Iraq

The US Federal Aviation Administration said on Tuesday it would ban US carriers from operating in the airspace over Iraq, Iran, the Gulf of Oman and the waters between Iran and Saudi Arabia after Iran launched a missile attack on US-led forces in Iraq.


5:43am


Intense military jet activity over Iraq capital

Military jets could be seen flying over the Iraqi capital early Wednesday, hours after Tehran launched more than a dozen ballistic missiles at Iraqi bases where US troops are located.

AFP's correspondents saw jets cutting through the clouds over Baghdad but could not immediately identify the planes.


5:40am

Japan PM Abe to cancel weekend trip to Middle East

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will cancel plans to visit Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Oman this weekend, TV Asahi reported on Wednesday.

Kyodo News reported separately that Abe convened a National Security Conference (NSC) meeting, likely to discuss Iran's attack on US forces based in Iraq.


5:00am

Vice President Mike Pence has briefed top Democrats in Congress on the Iranian strikes on installations in Iraq holding US forces.

Aides to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer both confirmed the lawmakers spoke with the vice president by telephone Tuesday.

Justin Goodman, a spokesman for Schumer, says the New York Democrat is closely monitoring the situation and is praying for the safety of service members and other personnel.

Pelosi spokesman Drew Hammill tweeted that the speaker returned a call from the vice president moments after presiding over the House.

Katie Waldman, a spokeswoman for the vice president, says Pence has been in continuous contact with national security officials and made calls to congressional leadership at President Donald Trump's direction.


4:15am

The Pentagon is confirming that Iran has launched "more than a dozen ballistic missiles" at two targets hosting against US military and coalition forces in Iraq.

Defense Department spokesman Jonathan Hoffman says "It is clear that these missiles were launched from Iran."

He says the attacks "targeted at least two Iraqi military bases" at Ain Assad and Irbil.

Hoffman says the US is "working on initial battle damage assessments."

Iranian state TV says the attack was in revenge for the killing of Revolutionary Guard Gen. Qasem Soleimani, whose funeral Tuesday prompted angry calls to avenge his death.



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