Inching closer to war? Iran pounds American military bases with ballistic missiles

US Defence department confirmed that two airbases hosting US troops in Iraq -- Irbil and Al Asad -- were attacked with more than a dozen ballistic missiles.

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Iran walked the revenge talk in the early hours of Wednesday, firing more than a dozen ballistic missiles at two United States military bases in Iraq. The strikes in the cover of darkness followed the death of more than 35 people during a stampede at the funeral of top Quds Force commander Qasem Soleimani, who was killed by the US drone strike in Baghdad last week. It is not clear if there have been casualties.

The US Department of Defence confirmed that at least two airbases hosting US troops in Iraq were attacked with more than a dozen ballistic missiles. The Pentagon said Irbil and Al Asad the military bases came under Iranian attack.

Attack follows Trump refusal to withdraw troops from Iraq

The attack came hours US President Donald Trump said withdrawing the US troops from Iraq would be the worst thing for the country. Trump said this after confusion arose over a mail apparently sent by the US military to Iraqi authorities suggested Washington would agree to a troop pullback following the Iraqi request. The mail was sent in error, it was explained later. The US has around 5,000 troops in Iraq.

Qasem Soleimani
Iranian Quds Force commander Qasem Soleimani Wikimedia Commons

IRGC serves warning to American allies

Serving an ultimatum to American allies in the region, Iran's Revolutionary Guard said the missile strike at US bases should make the friends of the US rethink on their options. "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," the IRGC said in a statement, state-run IRNA reported.

All is well, tweets Trump

The attack happened at about 1.30 a.m. local time, the U.S. military said, Reuters reported. The US has not assessed the damage and impact of the missile attack yet, early reports said. President Donald Trump appeared to remain calm after the offensive, saying all was well in the Middle East. "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!" Trump tweeted.

Following the retaliation, Iran seemed to de-escalate the situation, saying that Tehran did not seek escalation. "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," Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif tweeted.

Lindsey Graham sternly warns Iran

Even as the US takes stock of the impact of the Iranian strike and the possible retaliation, ranking Republican Senator Lindsey Graham hinted at a tough response. Iran's action was an act of war, he told Fox News. "The President has all the authority he needs under Article II to respond and how he responds is yet to be determined, but he has that authority to respond," he added warning Iranians that their fate hinged on their actions.

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