Iran launches ‘ballistic missiles’ at U.S. bases in Iraq

Iran claims to have launched more than 30 “ballistic missiles” at U.S. personnel based in Iraq overnight on Tuesday. The U.S. military confirmed that Iran launched “at least a dozen ballistic missiles against U.S. military & coalition forces in Iraq.”

Iran’s propaganda machine was in full spin cycle, reporting “hundreds of casualties” through state media. But there were no U.S. casualties reported at al-Assad Air Base in the western province on Anbar.

There were unconfirmed reports of Iraqi casualties in Irbil at the Combined Joint Operations Center where the U.S. trains Iraqi Kurdish fighters. At both targeted bases, there are more Iraqi fighters than U.S. personnel.

Iran is known to field an array of short, medium and long-range ballistic missiles that are capable of hitting a range of targets throughout the Middle East.

The Iranian strike took place just five days after the U.S. killed Qassem Soleimani, the commander of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps – Qods Force, along with Abu Mahdi al Muhandis, the deputy commander of the Iranian-supported Iraq Popular Mobilization Forces. Iran and its militias in Iraq have vowed to avenge the killing of Soleimani and Muhandis.

The Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) announced the launch in a statement released on Fars News.

Additionally, the video (above) published at Fars purported to show the missile launch, which called the attack “retaliation for the brutal assassination” of Soleimani.

The IRGC said the attack came in two waves, beginning at 1:20 a.m. local time, the same time the U.S. killed Soleimani in an airstrike as he left Baghdad Airport.

The IRGC also threatened Israel.

“By no means do we consider the Zionist regime separate from the American criminal regime in these crimes,” according to the IRGC.

The U.S. Department of Defense confirmed the attack was “launched from Iran” and that it “targeted at least two Iraqi military bases hosting U.S. military & coalition personnel at Al-Assad & Irbil.”

//twitter.com/DeptofDefense/status/1214709255909126144

Tuesday night’s launch marked Iran’s first military response since the U.S. killed Soleimani. His killing was in retaliation to Iraqi militias attacking the U.S. embassy in Baghdad – in addition to rocketing U.S. personnel late last year, which killed a U.S. military contractor.

Iraqi militias have launched several small scale rocket attacks against the Green Zone, however, no U.S. casualties were reported.

Earlier on Tuesday, before Iran’s attack, President Trump vowed to respond vigorously to any Iranian retaliatory action.

“I will say this: if Iran does anything that they shouldn’t be doing, they’re going to be suffering the consequences, and very strongly,” Trump said.

Bill Roggio is a Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and the Editor of FDD's Long War Journal.

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