The Iran Missile Strike: Here's what we know so far
Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps confirmed they fired the missiles in retaliation for last week's killing of Qassem Soleimani. They have claimed that this is self-defence under Article 51 of the UN Charter.
Rocket missiles from Iran have been fired at two of Iraq's airbases, which host U.S. forces. This came in the context of mounting tensions between the US and Iran, following a U.S. drone strike on Friday that killed Iranian military commander Qassem Soleimani.
Pentagon spokesman Jonathan Hoffman said in a statement that the bases targeted were al-Asad air base and another facility in Erbil, Iraq.
The Iranian state television has said that at least 80 "American terrorists" were killed in the attack and U.S. helicopters and military equipment were "severely damaged". According to the report, 15 missiles were launched and none of them were intercepted.
No word on casualty has come from the US side.
The attack occured late last night, at about 1:30 a.m. (2230 GMT), the U.S. military has said.
Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps confirmed they fired the missiles in retaliation for last week's killing of Qassem Soleimani, according to a statement on state TV.
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said Iran "took & concluded proportionate measures in self-defense under Article 51 of the U.N. Charter", targeting the bases where the attack against its citizens and senior officials was launched.
"We do not seek escalation or war, but will defend ourselves against any aggression," he wrote in a post on Twitter.
The force advised the United States to withdraw its troops from the region to prevent more deaths and warned U.S. allies including Israel not to allow attacks from their territories.
U.S. President Donald Trump said in a tweet late on Tuesday that an assessment of casualties and damage from the strikes was under way and that he would make a statement on Wednesday morning. "All is well!" Trump, who visited the al-Asad air base in December 2018, said in the Twitter post.
Hours earlier on Tuesday, U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper said the United States should anticipate retaliation from Iran over Friday's killing in Iraq of Soleimani, commander of the elite Quds Force.
"I think we should expect that they will retaliate in some way, shape or form," he told a news briefing at the Pentagon, adding that such retaliation could be through Iran-backed proxy groups outside of Iran or "by their own hand."
US Senators and Democrats are strongly advising Trump to de-escalate the situation, saying the world cannot afford war right now.
More than 5,000 U.S. troops remain in Iraq along with other foreign forces as part of a coalition that has trained and backed up Iraqi security forces against the threat of Islamic State militants.
Some 115 German soldiers are stationed in Erbil and all are fine, a spokesman for Bundeswehr operations said.
A NATO official told Reuters it would move some of its several hundred trainers out of Iraq. Canada said on Tuesday some of its 500 Iraq-based forces would be temporarily moved to Kuwait for safety reasons.
U.S. officials have said Soleimani was killed because of solid intelligence indicating forces under his command planned attacks on U.S. targets in the region, although they have provided no evidence.
Prompted by the strong public backlash over Soleimani's killing on Iraqi soil, lawmakers in Iraq voted on Sunday to demand a removal of all foreign forces from the country.
Ali Shamkhani, secretary of Iran's Supreme National Security Council, said 13 "revenge scenarios" were being considered, Fars news agency reported. Even the weakest option would prove "a historic nightmare for the Americans", he said.