Iran fired multiple missiles into Iraq on Tuesday evening, targeting U.S. military sites in what appeared to be retaliation for the recent American drone strike that killed one of its top generals.
The Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps swiftly took credit, and one Iranian politician tweeted his nation’s flag — an apparent swipe at President Donald Trump who tweeted the American flag after the U.S. killing of Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani.
“We warn the Great Satan, the arrogant American regime that any new invasions and aggression will result in more painful and pounding responses,” Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps stated.
Later, Iran’s Foreign Minister 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,” he added.
Late Tuesday, President Donald Trump tweeted, “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.”
The recent developments were expected to spark global fear of a U.S. war in the Middle East. Iranian leaders had vowed revenge for the death of Soleimani, who the U.S. has blamed for the recent death of an American military contractor as well as being behind roadside bombs assessed to have killed 600 American troops in Iraq.
A Pentagon spokesman estimated that there were more than a dozen ballistic missiles launched from Iran beginning at about 5:30 p.m. EST. A defense official told ABC News that 10 of the missiles hit Al Asad, one struck Irbil in northern Iraq and four “failed in flight.”
“It is clear that these missiles were launched from Iran and targeted at least two Iraqi military bases hosting U.S. military and coalition personnel at Al Asad and Irbil,” wrote Pentagon spokesman Jonathan Hoffman.
A defense official said there was no information on possible casualties, but the U.S. is “still conducting battle damage assessments.” But a senior administration official and a U.S. official told ABC News late Tuesday that there were no indications of American casualties so far.
About a quarter of the Iranian ballistic missiles that were fired “failed” — implying that they were either intercepted by air defenses or missed their targets, the senior administration official said. One of the U.S. officials said there was no additional activity from Iran.
The president and congressional leadership were briefed immediately after the strikes. The defense official told reporters that Defense Secretary Mark Esper and Gen. Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, were in the Pentagon while the attack occurred and spoke by phone to the president, vice president and national security team. They then went to the White House to brief Trump in person.
“We are aware of the reports of attacks on U.S. facilities in Iraq,” according to a statement from White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham. “The President has been briefed and is monitoring the situation closely and consulting with his national security team.”
You can read the rest of Luis Martinez and Elizabeth McLaughlin’s article at ABCnews.com