Iran Launches Missile Strikes on American Troops, Threatens Israel if US Retaliates
Iranian state TV claims 80 'American terrorists' killed in military base attacks
Iran has launched several missile strikes against military bases used by US troops in Iraq, with the Iranian regime threatening to strike Israel, and even Dubai, should the United States retaliate.
Iran's state-controlled media claimed that 80 "American terrorists" were killed during the attacks in the early hours of Wednesday, adding that none of their 15 missiles were intercepted.
Citing a senior Revolutionary Guards source, state-run IRNA news also warned that Iran has another 100 targets planned in the region if Washington takes any retaliatory measures.
Another state-controlled TV channel of the Guard also threatened to bomb Dubai and Haifa in Israel should America respond to the attacks.
Iranian media reports also claimed U.S. helicopters and military equipment were "severely damaged."
A U.S. military official has stated that there were no immediate reports of any American casualties, however.
Tehran fired more than a dozen ballistic missiles at two Iraqi bases, housing American troops, in a revenge attack for the US drone strike that killed top Iranian terror chief Gen. Qassem Soleimani on Friday.
The Ayn al Asad airbase in western Iraq that was visited by Donald Trump in December 2018 and the Erbil base in Iraqi Kurdistan were both struck by the missiles early on Wednesday.
Iran's Revolutionary Guard warned the US and its regional allies against retaliating over the missile attack.
The Guard issued the warning via a statement carried by Iran's state-run IRNA news agency.
"We are warning all American allies, who gave their bases to its terrorist army, that any territory that is the starting point of aggressive acts against Iran will be targeted," The Guard said.
Iranian state TV said the attack was in revenge for the U.S. killing of Revolutionary Guard Gen. Qassem Soleimani, whose funeral procession Tuesday in his hometown of Kerman prompted angry calls to avenge his death.
The Pentagon says the missiles were "clearly launched from Iran" to target U.S. military and coalition forces in Iraq.
President Donald Trump has been briefed on the attacks and Defense Secretary Mark Esper and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo were spotted arriving at the White House soon after news of the strikes broke.
The rockets used in the attack, according to Iranian TV, were Fatteh-110 ballistic missiles, which have a range of 186 miles or 300km.
The Iranian air force has since deployed multiple fighter jets to patrol its airspace, according to reports - as Iran warned the U.S. and its allies in the region not to retaliate.
Terrorist Soleimani's killing and Iran's missile strikes also marked the first time in recent years that Washington and Tehran have attacked each other directly rather than through proxies in the region.
It raised the chances of open conflict erupting between the two nations, which have been foes since the days immediately following Iran's 1979 Islamic Revolution.
After the strikes, a former Iranian nuclear negotiator posted a picture of the Islamic Republic's flag on Twitter, appearing to mimic Trump who posted an American flag following the killing of Soleimani and others Friday in a drone strike in Baghdad.
Ain al-Asad airbase was first used by American forces after the 2003 U.S.-led invasion that toppled dictator Saddam Hussein, and later saw American troops stationed there amid the fight against the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria.
It houses about 1,500 U.S. and coalition forces.
About 70 Norwegian troops also were on the airbase but no injuries were reported, Brynjar Stordal, a spokesperson for the Norwegian Armed Forces told The Associated Press.
State TV said the operation's name was "Martyr Soleimani."
It said the Guard's aerospace division that controls Iran's missile program launched the attack.
Iran said it would release more information later.
Wednesday's revenge attack came a mere few hours after crowds in Iran mourned Soleimani and as the U.S. continued to reinforce its own positions in the region and warned of an unspecified threat to shipping from Iran in the region's waterways, crucial routes for global energy supplies.