On Tuesday evening, Iran retaliated against the US for the death of Iranian Quds Force General Qassem Soleimani. As many as 15 ballistic missiles were fired into Iraq and directed at US forces at two joint US-Iraqi military bases.
Central Command the Ain al-Asad Air Base was hit with ten missiles, Erbil was hit with one, and four missiles missed their targets. Military officials said there were “no US casualties.”
State television in Iran stated that “at least 80 terrorist US soldiers” were killed.
On Twitter, President Trump indirectly disputed Iran’s claims:
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.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 8, 2020
In a Tuesday night interview, Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) said he spoke with the president by phone about any response that may happen as a result of the attack.
“Let me say tonight if you are watching television in Iran. I just got off the phone with the president. Your fate is in your own hands in terms of the regime’s economic viability.”
The Pentagon said it was planning on an attack and was prepared for any action Iran may take in a separate statement.
“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 US personnel, partners, and allies in the region.”
Trump has warned Iran not to retaliate and that they could face further military action.
Iran’s Supreme Leader Says the Retaliation Is Not Enough
After the attack, Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on Wednesday called the attacks a “slap in the face” to the US. He further added, “Military action like this is not sufficient. What is important is ending the corrupting presence of America in the region.”
After the attack, Iran called on the US not to retaliate.
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif tweeted:
Iran took & concluded proportionate measures in self-defense under Article 51 of UN Charter targeting base from which cowardly armed attack against our citizens & senior officials were launched.
We do not seek escalation or war, but will defend ourselves against any aggression.
— Javad Zarif (@JZarif) January 8, 2020
Plane Crashes in Tehran — Iran Won’t Release Black Box
Hours after Iran launched ballistic missiles toward American forces in Iraq, a Ukranian airliner headed for Kiev crashed after takeoff from Tehran’s airport. The crash killed all 176 crew and passengers onboard. There were no Americans on the flight.
Iranian and Ukranian officials both said a mechanical issue is suspected of downing the Boeing 737-800.
The plane was reportedly delayed from taking off for nearly an hour. After takeoff, the plane reportedly caught fire on descent.
Iran has stated that it will not provide Boeing with the black box and has not decided where to send it for analysis.
By Don Purdum, Freelance Contributor
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