Atleast 80 people were killed as Iran fired missiles Wednesday at Iraqi bases used by the US military, Tehran media reported, in its first display of revenge by the Islamic republic’s guaranteed vengeance after the US assassinated Iranian general Qasem Soleimani.
When “Iran fired more than a dozen ballistic missiles against U.S. military and coalition forces in Iraq,” the Pentagon said it was still “working on initial battle damage assessments.”
“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,” the Pentagon said.
There were no immediate reports of casualties, but after days of steadily increasing tension and exchanges of war threats, the Pentagon said it was ready.
“These bases have been on high alert due to indications that the Iranian regime planned to attack our forces and interests in the region,” a spokesman said.
Iranian state television reported an attack on one base housing U.S. troops, saying it was one of the most prominent figures in the country’s government in reaction to Friday’s killing in a U.S. drone strike of Iranian general Qasem Soleimani. A top Iraqi leader Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, who was with Soleimani outside Baghdad’s international airport when the U.S. drone struck, was also killed.
In Washington, according to the White House, U.S. President Donald Trump was said to be “intensely monitoring of the situation and coordinating with his national security team.”
The top commander of the Revolutionary Guards, Major General Hossein Salami, said Iran should “take revenge” at Soleimani’s funeral in Iran.
If further US attacks occur, “we will set fire to what they love,” he said.
Trump warned that “if Iran does anything that they shouldn’t be doing, they’re going to be suffering the consequences and very strongly.”
Yet Trump returned to earlier threats in the event of a conflict to bomb Iranian cultural sites. This might be seen as a war crime.
“If that’s what the law is, I like to obey the law,” Trump said.
Meanwhile, tragedy struck when an already highly tense situation in the Iranian city of Kerman when more than 50 people died at Soleimani’s funeral in a crowd stampede, Iranian media reported.
Responsible for Iran’s regional network of official and unofficial military allies, Qassem Soleimani was due to be buried in his hometown when the crowd went out of control.