In retaliation to the killing of top Iranian commander Qassem Soleimani last week, Iran attacked two US airbases in Iraq with over a dozen ballistic missiles on Tuesday, January 7, at 5:30 pm (EST).
An Iranian state television channel said that the attacks were in revenge for the US drone attack at Baghdad airport in the wee hours of January 3. The state TV further advised the US to withdraw its troops from the region to prevent more deaths.
The state TV also claimed that at least 80 “American terrorists” were killed in the attacks. It also claimed that the US military equipments were damaged.
A statement released by the Pentagon confirmed that the attacks were on the al-Asad airbase and Erbil, Iraq. However, they have not released reports of casualties yet.
“It is clear that these missiles were launched from Iran and targeted at least two Iraqi military bases hosting U.S. military and coalition personnel,” said Pentagon spokesman Jonathan Hoffman.
“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,” added Hoffman.
In a tweet shortly after the attack, US President Donald Trump said, “All is well.” He added that he would be making a statement on Wednesday, January 8.
“All is well! Missiles launched from Iran at two military bases located in Iraq. Assessment of casualties & damages taking place now. So far, so good! We have the most powerful and well equipped military anywhere in the world, by far! I will be making a statement tomorrow morning,” said Trump in the tweet.
Hours after the attack, Ali Rabiei, the government spokesperson of Iran, said that the country will give a “crushing response” if the US retaliates.
“We have never wanted war but any aggression will receive a crushing response,” tweeted Rabiei.
Indian Government Issues Advisory To Indians
In view of the tense situation in Iraq, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) issued a travel advisory to Indian citizens on Wednesday, January 8. The MEA appealed to Indian citizens to avoid all non-essential travel to Iraq until further notification.
MEA also advised Indians residing in Iraq to remain on alert and avoid travelling within Iraq. The Central government has also told all India operated airlines to avoid airspace of Iran, Iraq and the Gulf.
“In view of the prevailing situation in Iraq, Indian nationals are advised to avoid all non-essential travel to Iraq until further notification. Indian nationals residing in Iraq are advised to be alert and may avoid travel within Iraq,” tweeted official spokesperson for MEA, Raveesh Kumar.
Also Read: Iran Ends Nuclear Deal Commitment After US Airstrikes That Killed Its Army General Soleimani