Iran's elite Revolutionary Guards tests missiles during maneuvers in a central desert area of Iran. (AAP)

By Telegraph.co.uk

At least nine rockets, believed to be fired by Iran, hit an Iraqi airbase on Wednesday where American and coalition forces are based, a US official has confirmed.

Iranian state TV said that Tehran had launched “tens” of surface-to-surface missiles in the attack on the Ain al-Assad airbase, in the country’s west, as revenge for the killing of Gen Qassim Soleimani and Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis in Baghdad last week.

The Pentagon has confirmed the attack: “At approximately 5:30 p.m. (EST) on January 7, Iran launched more than a dozen ballistic missiles against U.S. military and coalition forces in Iraq.

“It is clear that these missiles were launched from Iran and targeted at least two Iraqi military bases hosting US military and coalition personnel at Al-Assad and Irbil.”

A US official said that it was aware of attacks on multiple locations. It is unclear if there have been any casualties.

Defense Department spokesman Jonathan Hoffman said: “It is clear that these missiles were launched from Iran.”

He said the attacks “targeted at least two Iraqi military bases” and that the US is “working on initial battle damage assessments”.

White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham said: “The President has been briefed and is monitoring the situation closely and consulting with his national security team.”

Mike Pompeo, the secretary of state, and Mark Esper, the defence secretary, have arrived at the White House.

The US defended the killing of Soleimani yesterday, claiming that the general was allegedly plotting an immediate attack against America.

Asked during a press conference whether the attack allegedly being masterminded by Soleimani had been days or weeks away, Mr Esper said: “I think it’s more fair to say days, for sure.”

He also included a warning while urging Iran to de-escalate the current standoff, saying: “We are not looking to start a war with Iran, but we are prepared to finish one.”

Donald Trump followed up the comments by saying Soleimani, the leader of Iran’s proxy militias,  was planning a “very big attack” which would have affected America and taken “a lot of lives”.

Meanwhile, Iran accused the UK of being “a partner in crime” with the US over the attack as the Defence Secretary took “urgent measures” to protect the safety of British troops in the region.

The Prime Minister and the Foreign Secretary have urged Iran to “de-escalate” the growing crisis, but after Boris Johnson said the US was justified in killing Soleimani Tehran communicated its fury with Britain via ambassador Rob Macaire.

At least 60 people died and 200 were injured in a stampede yesterday during the funeral for Soleimani.

Tens of thousands had gathered in a central square in Kerman, the home town of the commander, as they prepared for his burial. Witnesses say mourners were violently pushed back from the cortege as the coffin passed, with crowds trampling on men, women and children.

Auto updateOn12:56am

Oil prices leap up after news of attack

Oil prices spiked on Wednesday morning, rising over 4.5 per cent at one point after Iran’s attack.

The benchmark WTI jumped as much as 4.53 per cent to $65.54 a barrel before settling down slightly.

Oil prices hit a six-year high on Monday
Oil prices hit a six-year high on Monday CREDIT: BORIS ROESSLER/DPA

12:42am

Pentagon confirms attack

The Pentagon has confirmed the attack: “At approximately 5:30 p.m. (EST) on January 7, Iran launched more than a dozen ballistic missiles against U.S. military and coalition forces in Iraq.

“It is clear that these missiles were launched from Iran and targeted at least two Iraqi military bases hosting US military and coalition personnel at Al-Assad and Irbil.”12:28am

Iran: ‘Any base is a target’

Iran’s Revolutionary Guard said the attack was in retaliation for the US killing of Qassim Soleimani.

“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,” it said in a statement carried by Iran’s state-run IRNA news agency.12:20am

President ‘monitoring’ attack

The White House press secretary has said that Donald Trump “has been briefed and is monitoring the situation” in Iraq after reports of airstrikes on a US and coalition base.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here