BAGHDAD (AFP) – Iran fired missiles yesterday at Iraqi bases housing the United States (US) military, officials in Washington and Tehran said, in the first action of the Islamic republic’s promised revenge for the US killing of a top Iranian general.
Launched from Iranian territory and by Iranian forces not a proxy, the attack marked a new turn in the intensifying confrontation between the US and Iran and sent world oil prices soaring.
The Pentagon said, “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 targetted at least two Iraqi military bases hosting US military and coalition personnel” at Ain al-Asad and Arbil, it said.
Iran’s Foreign Minister appeared to suggest that the missile strikes were over for now.
But the supreme leader, who has the final say in all matters of state, said it was a “slap in the face” for the US and revenge was yet to come.
There was no immediate confirmation of any casualties. The Pentagon said the facilities had been on “high alert” after days of mounting tension and exchanges of threats of war.
The Iraqi military said it sustained no casualties in 22 missile strikes on bases housing US troops.
“Between 1.45am and 2.15am Iraq was hit by 22 missiles, 17 on the Ain al-Asad air base and… five on the city of Arbil,” the Iraqi military command said.
“There were no victims among the Iraqi forces.”
France too said it sustained no casualties in the strikes on bases housing troops of a US-led coalition fighting the remnants of the Islamic State (IS) extremist group.
But British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab voiced concern about “reports of casualties” in a statement condemning the strikes.