Iran fired a number of missiles at two Iraqi bases housing US troops Wednesday local time in retaliation for the American strike that killed a top Ira
Iran fired a number of missiles at two Iraqi bases housing US troops Wednesday local time in retaliation for the American strike that killed a top Iranian general last week — presenting President Donald Trump with the biggest test of his presidency to date.
Trump will deliver a statement on Iran from the White House at 11 a.m. ET on Wednesday morning, the administration announced. Vice President Mike Pence will join Trump for his remarks.
The US has “100% accountability” of all its forces in Iraq, with no US casualties, according to a US defense official familiar with the latest assessment on Wednesday morning. The official added that there has been “no major damage” at either base.
There is a growing belief among administration officials that Iran deliberately missed areas populated by Americans, multiple administration officials told CNN on Wednesday.
These officials floated the notion that Iran could have directed their missiles to hit areas that are populated by Americans, but intentionally did not. Iraq did receive advance warning that the strike was coming and were able to take “necessary precautions,” according to a statement from Iraq’s Prime Minister Adil Abdul Mahdi.
Iraq’s joint military command said there were no casualties among Iraqi military forces either.
Iran targeted the al-Asad airbase, which houses US troops, and American and coalition forces in Erbil, according to Jonathan Hoffman, a Pentagon spokesperson.
White House aides had initially made plans for a possible address to the nation by Trump on Tuesday night, according to two officials. Trump tweeted later in the night that he would make a statement Wednesday morning.
“All is well!” Trump tweeted. “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.”
The administration officials who discussed Iran’s targeting suggested that Tehran’s leaders may have intended to send a message rather than take significant enough action to trigger a US military response, a possible indication that the White House is looking for a rationale to calm tensions.
The attack comes days after the US killed top Iranian general Qasem Soleimani in an airstrike in the Iraqi capital of Baghdad. The administration had sought to cast that strike as an attempt to de-escalate tensions with Iran, but Tehran has described it as an “act of war” and “state terrorism.” Soleimani had been the second most powerful official in the country.
In a televised address to Iran Wednesday, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei addressed the missile attacks and said Iran had given the US “a slap in the face last night.”
He added that America had cast Soleimani as a “terrorist,” which was “unjust and unfair.”
The Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps, an elite wing of the Iranian military, said in a statement that the attacks on Iraqi bases were “hard revenge” for Soleimani’s death. The IRGC said any country housing US troops could be subject to “hostile and aggressive acts” and called on American citizens to demand the administration remove US troops from the region.
It warned the US: “If you repeat your wickedness or take any additional movements or make additional aggression, we will respond with more painful and crushing responses.”