Iran responded to the United States for the killing of Qassem Soleimani, a high-ranking Iranian general with a series of ballistic missile bombardments against two Iraqi bases that house US troops.
Iranian state television said the bombing was in revenge for the assassination by the United States of a General of the Revolutionary Guards Qassem Soleimani, killed last week in an attack by US drones near Baghdad, sparked angry protests asking for revenge for his murder.
Soleimani’s assassination and Iran’s attacks came as tensions steadily increased throughout the Middle East following President Donald Trump’s decision to unilaterally withdraw the United States from Tehran’s nuclear agreement with world powers.
They also marked the first time in recent years that Washington and Tehran have been attacked directly instead of through representatives in the region.
The chances of an open conflict between the two nations, which have been at odds since the Islamic Revolution of Iran in 1979, increased.
Iran initially announced only one attack, but the US authorities confirmed two attacks. There was no immediate news about the number of injuries.
U.S. defense officials were in the White House, probably discussing options with Trump, who launched the attack on Soleimani while preparing to face an upcoming political trial in the Senate.
The Revolutionary Guard of Iran warned the US. and its regional allies to not retaliate for the missile attack against the Ain al-Asad airbase in the western Anbar province in Iraq. The Guard issued the warning through a statement issued by Iran’s state IRNA news agency.
“We are warning all American allies, who gave their bases to their terrorist army, that any territory that is the starting point for aggressive acts against Iran will be attacked,” said the Guard. He also threatened Israel.
The Ain al-Asad airbase was first used by US forces after the US-led invasion in 2003 that overthrew dictator Saddam Hussein, and then kept US troops stationed to fight the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria. It houses around 1,500 US and coalition forces.
Around 70 Norwegian troops were also at the airbase, but no injuries were reported, Brynjar Stordal, a spokesman for the Norwegian Armed Forces, told Middle east headlines, news team.
More news in the Middle east regarding the killing of Qassem Soleimani
Trump visited the extensive Ain al-Asad airbase, about 100 miles or 60 kilometers west of Baghdad, in December 2018, making his first presidential visit to troops in the region. He did not meet with any Iraqi officials at that time, and his visit raised awareness of the continued presence of US forces in Iraq. Vice President Mike Pence also visited the base.
Iranian state television said the Guard’s aerospace division that controls Iran’s missile program launched the attack, which said it was part of an operation called “Martyr Soleimani.” Iran said it would release more information later.
The United States also recognized another missile attack against a base in Irbil, in the semi-autonomous Kurdish region of Iraq.
“As we assess the situation and our response, we will take all necessary measures to protect and defend United States personnel, partners and allies in the region,” said Jonathan Hoffman, assistant secretary of the United States defense.
Wednesday’s revenge attack came just hours after the crowds in Iran cried for Soleimani, and the United States continued to reinforce its own positions in the region and cautioned of any threat from Iran on the waterways of the region, crucial routes for global energy supply, will be countered by military force.
U.S. embassies and consulates from Asia to Africa and Europe issued security alerts for Americans.
Soleimani’s assassination has already led Tehran to abandon the remaining limits of its 2015 nuclear agreement with the world powers, as its successor and others promise to take revenge.
In Iraq, pro-Iranian factions in parliament have pressed to expel US troops from Iraqi soil after the murder of Soleimani.
Germany and Canada announced plans to move some of their soldiers in Iraq to neighboring countries.
The United States Maritime Administration warned ships across the Middle East, citing the growing threats. “The Iranian response to this action, if any, is unknown, but there is still the possibility of an Iranian action against the United States maritime interests in the region,” he said.
The tankers were attacked last year as the United States blamed Iran.
Tehran denied responsibility, although it seized oil tankers around the crucial Strait of Hormuz, the narrow mouth of the Persian Gulf through which 20% of the world’s crude oil travels.
The 5th Fleet of the US Navy in Bahrain said it would work with shippers in the region to minimize any possible threat.
The 5th Fleet “has provided and will continue to provide commercial shipping advice with regard to the safety precautions recommended in light of the growing tensions and threats in the region,” the spokesman for the 5th Cmdr Fleet. Joshua Frey told Middle East Headlines News.
Meanwhile, Iran’s parliament passed an urgent bill declaring the command of the US army at the Pentagon and those acting on their behalf in the murder of Soleimani as “terrorists”, subject to Iranian sanctions. The move appears to be in response to a Trump decision in April to declare the Revolutionary Guard as a “terrorist organization.”
The U.S. Department of Defense. He used that terror argument to support the attack and the killing of Qassem Soleimani.
The Iranian parliament’s action was carried out through a special procedure to accelerate its approval and also saw lawmakers approve funds for the Quds Force with an additional 200 million euros, or about $ 224 million.