Iran Attacks Over 5000 US Troops In Iraq With Ballistic Missiles

……….Trump Says All Was Well

Iran has carried out a ballistic missile attack on air bases housing US forces in Iraq, in retaliation for the US killing of General Qasem Soleimani.

More than a dozen missiles launched from Iran struck two air bases in Irbil and Al Asad, west of Baghdad.

It is unclear if there have been any casualties.

The initial response from Washington has been muted. President Trump tweeted that all was well and said casualties and damage were being assessed.

Iran’s Revolutionary Guards said the attack was in retaliation for the death of Soleimani on Friday – killed in a missile strike outside Baghdad airport on the orders of President Trump .

“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,” a statement said.

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif later issued a statement on Twitter, claiming the attack was self-defence and denied seeking to escalate the situation into war.

The BBC’s Middle East editor Jeremy Bowen in Baghdad says the tweets appear to suggest that Iran wishes to draw a line under its retaliation for the assassination of Soleimani.

Two Iraqi bases housing US and coalition troops were attacked – one at Al Asad and one in Irbil.

Tehran fired more than a dozen ballistic missiles from Iranian territories at about 2:00am local time (10.30pm GMT), just hours after the burial of Soleimani.

The Al-Asad airbase – located in the Anbar province of western Iraq – was hit by at least six missiles.

Earlier in the day, President Trump said a US withdrawal of troops from Iraq would be the worst thing for the country.

His comments came in the wake of a letter, which the US military said had been sent in error to Iraq’s prime minister.

The US has around 5,000 troops in Iraq.

The UK foreign office told the BBC: “We are urgently working to establish the facts on the ground. Our first priority is the security of British personnel.”

The UK has put the Royal Navy and military helicopters on standby amid rising tensions in the Middle East, Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said earlier. BBC