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Iran claims 80 US casualties in missile attacks

By Lalit K Jha
Last updated on: January 08, 2020 15:04 IST
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Iran launched over a dozen ballistic missiles targeting at least two bases where US military and coalition forces' are stationed in Iraq, which Teheran said was a "slap in the face" of America. 

IMAGE: Mourners attend a funeral procession of Iranian Major-General Qassem Soleimani, head of the elite Quds Force of the Revolutionary Guards, and the Iraqi militia commander Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, who were killed in an air strike at Baghdad airport, at Imam Ali Shrine in Najaf on January 4, 2019. Photograph: Reuters.

According to Iranian State TV, the attacks were in revenge for the killing of the commander of Iran's powerful Revolutionary Guards, General Qasem Soleimani, in a US drone strike on Friday, which was ordered by President Donald Trump. 

While the Iranian State television claimed that "at least 80 terrorist US soldiers" were killed in the strikes, the Pentagon said it is working on initial battle damage assessments. Some 5,000 US soldiers are in Iraq as part of the international coalition against the IS terror group. 

 

The Iraqi military in a statement said a total of 22 missiles hit two bases housing US troops, but there were no victims among the Iraqi forces. 

Shortly after the missile attacks, 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." 

Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said the attacks were a "slap in the face" of the US. 

In a speech broadcast live on state television, Khamenei said, "Last night, a slap in the face was delivered." 

US officials said President Trump has been briefed and he is monitoring the situation.

"We are working on initial battle damage assessments," Pentagon spokesperson Jonathan Hoffman said. 

Hoffman said around 5:30 pm on January 7, "Iran launched more than a dozen ballistic missiles against US 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,” he said. 

White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham said the president has been briefed about the situation. 

“We are aware of the reports of attacks on US facilities in Iraq. The president has been briefed and is monitoring the situation closely and consulting with his national security team,” Grisham said. 

Hoffman said in recent days and in response to Iranian threats and actions, the department of defence has taken all appropriate measures to safeguard its 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,” he said. 

"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,” Hoffman said.

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Lalit K Jha in Washington, DC
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