By Lalit K Jha
Attacks were a ‘slap in the face’ of US: Iran’s supreme leader Khamenei At least 80 US soldiers killed in strike: Iran
Working on battle damage assessments, says Pentagon
No Iraqi casualties, says Iraq military
Iran had informed us of imminent attack, says Iraq PM office
IRAN launched over a dozen of ballistic missiles targeting at least two bases where US military and coalition forces’ are stationed in Iraq, which Tehran said was a “slap in the face” of America. According to Iranian State TV, the attacks were in revenge for the killing of the commander of Iran’s powerful Revolutionary Guards, General Qasem Soleimani, in a US drone strike on Friday, which was ordered by President Donald Trump. While the Iranian State television claimed that “at least 80 terrorist US soldiers” were killed in the strikes, the Pentagon said it is working on initial battle damage assessments. Some 5,000 US soldiers are in Iraq as part of the international coalition against the IS terror group.
The Iraqi military in a statement said that a total of 22 missiles hit two bases housing US troops, but there were no victims among the Iraqi forces. Shortly after the missile attacks, Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said that the attacks were a “slap in the face” of the US. In a speech broadcast live on state television, Khamenei said, “Last night, a slap in the face was delivered.” US officials said that President Trump has been briefed and he is monitoring the situation. “We are working on initial battle damage assessments,” said Pentagon spokesperson Jonathan Hoffman.
Hoffman said that around 5:30 pm on January 7, “Iran launched more than a dozen ballistic missiles against US military and coalition forces in Iraq”. “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 Al-Assad and Irbil,” he said. White House Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham said that the President has been briefed about the situation. “We are aware of the reports of attacks on US facilities in Iraq.
The President has been briefed and is monitoring the situation closely and consulting with his national security team,” Grisham said. Hoffman said, in recent days and in response to Iranian threats and actions, the Department of Defence has taken all appropriate measures to safeguard its personnel and partners. “These bases have been on high alert due to indications that the Iranian regime planned to attack our forces and interests in the region,” he said. “As we evaluate the situation and our response, we will take all necessary measures to protect and defend US personnel, partners, and allies in the region,” Hoffman said. President Trump spoke with Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani and thanked him for his country’s strong partnership with the US. The two leaders discussed the situation in Iraq and Iran, as well as other critical bilateral and regional issues, the White House said.
Trump also telephoned Germany Chancellor Angela Merkel and the two leaders discussed the security situation in the Middle-East and Libya and agreed to continue close coordination moving forward, it said. State Department spokesperson Morgan Ortagus said Secretary of State Michael Pompeo telephoned Kurdistan Regional Government Prime Minister Masrour Barzani and updated him on the Iranian missile attacks on Iraqi air bases, including in Erbil. The two leaders agreed to stay in close touch as the situation develops.
General Soleimani, who was considered a terrorist by the US, was killed when a drone fired missiles into a convoy that was leaving the Baghdad International Airport on Friday last week. Iran had informed us of imminent attack: Iraq PM office: IRAQ’S Prime Minister’s office said on Wednesday that it had received “an official verbal message” from Iran informing it that a missile attack on US forces stationed on Iraqi soil was imminent. Iran launched 22 missiles at Iraqi bases housing US and other coalition troops early on Wednesday in response to the killing of senior Revolution Guards Commander Qasem Soleimani in a US drone strike in Baghdad last week.
Trump says no Americans harmed in attack by Iran, offers peace
PRESIDENT Donald Trump said on Wednesday that no Americans were harmed in the attack by Iran on US bases in Iraq as he offered to embrace peace along with the Iranian leadership, in a significant move to de-escalate the tensions in the Middle East. “We suffered no casualties. All of our soldiers are safe and only minimal damage was sustained at our military bases,” Trump said in an address to the nation from the White House Grand Foyer.
His remarks came hours after Iran launched over a dozen ballistic missiles targeting at least two bases where US military and coalition forces’ are stationed in Iraq, which Tehran said was a “slap in the face” of America. According to Iranian State TV, the attacks were in revenge for the killing of the commander of Iran’s powerful Revolutionary Guards, General Qasem Soleimani, in a US drone strike on Friday, which was ordered by Trump.
The Iranian state television claimed that “at least 80 terrorist US soldiers” were killed in the strikes. Some 5,000 US soldiers are in Iraq as part of the international coalition against the IS terror group. “No Americans were harmed in last night’s attack by the Iranian regime,” Trump said as he described Gen Soleimani as a “ruthless terrorist.” Trump also vowed that he will never allow Iran to have a nuclear weapon.
“As long as I’m President of the United States, Iran will never be allowed to have a nuclear weapon,” Trump said. In a direct message to the Iranian leaders and the people, Trump said the United States is “ready to embrace peace with all who seek it”. “To the people and leaders of Iran, we want you to have a future and a great future, one that you deserve,” Trump said.