Quantcast

Iran says it fired missiles at Iraqi air base housing US troops

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo delivers a statement on Iraq and Syria, at President Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago property, Sunday, Dec. 29, 2019, in Palm Beach, Fla. (AP Photo/ Evan Vucci)

BY NASSER KARIMI, AMIR VAHDAT AND JON GAMBRELL

Iran says it has launched “tens” of surface-to-surface missiles at Iraq’s Ain Assad air base housing U.S. troops over America’s killing of a top Iranian general.

State TV described it early Wednesday as Tehran’s revenge operation over the killing of Revolutionary Guard General Qassem Soleimani.

Iran’s Revolutionary Guard then warned the U.S. and its regional allies against retaliating over the missile attack in Iraq. 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. It also threatened Israel.

Citing the Pentagon, CNN reported that Iran appeared to have targeted and fired more than a dozen missiles toward two Iraqi bases hosting U.S. military. 

White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham said Tuesday the White House was aware of the reports.

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

“The President has been briefed and is monitoring the situation closely and consulting with his national security team,” she said.

Ain Assad air base is in Iraq’s western Anbar province. It was first used by American forces after the 2003 U.S.-led invasion that toppled dictator Saddam Hussein. It later saw American troops stationed there amid the fight against the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria.

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.

On Tuesday, 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. U.S. embassies and consulates from Asia to Africa and Europe issued security alerts for Americans.

The U.S. Air Force launched a drill with 52 fighter jets in Utah, just days after President Donald Trump threatened to hit 52 sites in Iran.

This story was updated on Jan. 7 at 6:55 p.m.

Associated Press