Iran launches missile attacks on military bases housing U.S. troops in Iraq

  • By Vanessa Romo/NPR

This is a developing story. Some things reported by the media will later turn out to be wrong. We will focus on reports from officials and other authorities, credible news outlets and reporters who are at the scene. We will update as the situation develops.

Iran has launched more than a dozen ballistic missiles against U.S. military and coalition forces, targeting at least two military bases in Iraq, the U.S. Defense Department announced late Tuesday.

The strikes on military and coalition personnel at the Ain al-Assad air base in Anbar province and in Irbil — at the center of Iraq’s Kurdistan region — began at approximately 5:30 p.m. ET, according to a statement.

The attacks come less than a week after the U.S. assassinated top Iranian military commander Qassem Soleimani in Iraq.

Iran had vowed to avenge the killing.

“We are working on initial battle damage assessments,” Pentagon spokesman Jonathan Hoffman said in a statement.

Hoffman added:

“In recent days and in response to Iranian threats and actions, the Department of Defense has taken all appropriate measures to safeguard our 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.

“As we evaluate the situation and our response, we will take all necessary measures to protect and defend U.S. personnel, partners, and allies in the region.”

White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham said President Trump has been briefed on the situation and is monitoring it closely with his national security team.

The Federal Aviation Administration has banned civilian flights over “Iraq, Iran, and the waters of the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman.”

Iranian media outlets, meanwhile, report that Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard claimed responsibility for the attack, saying it was carried out in “hard revenge” for Soleimani.

“We are warning the US that if they take any further action, they will receive a harsher response,” it said in a statement, according to state-run ISNA.

The organization also called on Americans to “prevent more damage by asking for their soldiers to be sent back home.”

“They shouldn’t let the lives of the military personnel be exposed to more potential danger because of the acts of their government.”

NPR’s Ayda Pourasad contributed to this report.

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