*Updates over the day follow below.
Over a dozen ballistic missiles have hit multiple US bases in Iraq following week old threats from Iran that promised retaliation for American air strikes on their officials in Baghdad last Tuesday.
Iran has officially accepted responsibility for the strikes. (Video below show rockets being fired in UPDATE 9).
“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-Assad and Irbil,” Jonathan Hoffman, assistant to the Secretary of Defense for Public Affairs, said in a statement.
Just as President Trump tweeted out the American flag after the assassination of Iranian General Qasem Soleimani last week, “Iran’s top nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili, who is also a politician and representative of the Supreme Leader, tweeted an image of the Iranian flag following reports of attacks on al-Asad air base.”
Iraqi casualties have been reported. No word on American casualties as of yet.
US jets have been deployed from Turkey in response to the Iranian attacks.
Mike Pompeo (Sec. of State) and Mike Esper (Defense Sec.) have arrived at the White House. Them, the president and a team have assembled in the West Wing and are monitoring the situation closely.
A speech is in the works for President Trump to address the nation at some point soon.
Iranian news has reported that the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) has warned of second wave of attacks if US military responds to their attacks on US-Iraqi bases.
The White House is surrounded by USSS (Secret Service) officers with automatic rifles.
The Secret Service has declined to comment to the press, instead passing along a statement that read it “assesses the threat environment surrounding all protectees.”
Iran’s Revolutionary Guard has threatened that attacks could follow on any country housing US troops.
“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.”
Iran threatens attacks inside US.
In its Telegram channel, Iranian Revolutionary Guard says the “Pentagon reports that the US will respond to Iran’s attacks.”
IRGC then says in a footnote, “This time we will respond to you in America”–CNN.
The Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps said in its Telegram channel that, in the event Iranian soil is bombed, it will target the cities of Dubai, United Arab Emirates, and Haifa, Israel, in the third wave of operations.
With Iran’s threats to attack countries throughout the Middle East, the FAA has issued indefinite restrictions on all non-US aircraft from operating in the airspace over several nations and waters.
From the FAA:
The Federal Aviation Administration issued Notices to Airmen (NOTAMS) tonight outlining flight restrictions that prohibit U.S. civil aviation operators from operating in the airspace over Iraq, Iran, and the waters of the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman. The FAA will continue closely monitoring events in the Middle East. We continue coordinating with our national security partners and sharing information with U.S. air carriers and foreign civil aviation authorities.
Despite earlier reports, the White House has now said they will be declining to make any statements until tomorrow. A speech from President Trump that was announced earlier has now been canceled.
In reference to US air strikes over the last two weeks on Kata’ib Hezbollah bases and the convoy of vehicles at Baghdad airport holding General Soleimani, a tweet from Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zari cites article 51of the UN Charter — “Action with respect to Threats to the Peace, Breaches of the Peace, and Acts of Aggression” — as justification for launching missiles at US bases in Iraq earlier today.
Article 51 states:
“Nothing in the present Charter shall impair the inherent right of individual or collective self-defence if an armed attack occurs against a Member of the United Nations, until the Security Council has taken measures necessary to maintain international peace and security. Measures taken by Members in the exercise of this right of self-deference shall be immediately reported to the Security Council and shall not in any way affect the authority and responsibility of the Security Council under the present Charter to take at any time such action as it deems necessary in order to maintain or restore international peace and security.”
Al-Asad base, the first struck today, hit a portion of the compound containing no American soldiers.
President Trump has taken to Twitter after 6 hours of silence: “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.”
A video published by Iranian State TV purports to show missiles launched against Al-Asad military base in Iraq:
Iranian State TV quoted a military commander who said that today’s missile attacks were only the first step in what is to come if the US does not withdraw its troops from the Middle East.
From Al Jazeera:
“The missile attacks today were just the first step (US President Donald) should think about withdrawing its troops from the region and not to leave them within our reach,” Iranian state TV quoted the commander as saying, without naming him.
These sentiments mirror earlier demands from Iranian telecommunications minister Mohammad-Javad Azari Jahromi, who tweeted “Get the hell out of our region!” following the missile attacks that hit two Iraqi bases holding US troops.
According to reports, a Ukrainian airliner holding nearly 200 people crashed after takeoff near Tehran.
The Guardian reports:
A passenger plane carrying 180 people bound for the Ukrainian capital Kiev has crashed a few minutes after taking off from Tehran’s main international airport, according to Iranian media outlets.
The Boeing 737-800 operated by Ukrainian International Airlines took off from Imam Khomeini international airport at 6.12am Tehran time and crashed about eight minutes later, according to flight tracking websites.
It is unknown if the crash is linked to Iran’s attacks on military bases housing US troops in Iraq earlier.
Early indications suggested the crash did not appear to have links to Wednesday morning’s missile strikes on bases in Iraq hosting US and coalition troops.-The Guardian.
US officials have said they had “early warnings” of Iran’s missile attacks.
A US military official has told CNN that the military did have enough early warning of the ballistic missile attack on airbases in Iraq to sound the alarm.
People in harm’s way were able to get to bunkers in time, the official said.
Iran has waged more threats against America if retaliation is sought for their missile attacks against US bases in Iraq.
It is speculated by western media that the attacks today were meant to avoid US casualties.
According to reports, Iranian Armed Forces chief of staff Major General Mohammad Baqeri said the first wave of missiles were basically a display of Iranian capabilities, and further attacks would be “stronger” and “more crushing”:
“Today, it is time for the wicked US officials to understand the Islamic Republic power and opt for a principled method to make its terrorist army leave the region.”
In the meantime, India has urged its citizens to avoid Iraq while the Phillipines joins the list of countries who have called for their citizens to evacuate the nation.
Japan’s Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said his nation urges peaceful and diplomatic means of de-escalation between Iran and the US, adding “further escalation must be avoided.”
Suga’s words echo those of New Zealand’s Foreign Minister and acting-Prime Minister Winston Peters’ earlier when he called for “restraint and de-escalation, and for diplomacy to take over.”
The UK has condemned the Iranian attacks on Iraqi bases, calling them “reckless and dangerous.”
[Foreign Secretary] Dominic Raab has condemned a ballistic missile attack by Iran on air bases in Iraq where coalition forces, including British personnel, are stationed.
Brexit Secretary Stephen Barclay has called for de-escalation on the side of Iran and stressed that “It’s in no side’s interest to see war.”
Prime Minister Boris Johnson would be updating the House of Commons later, and would also discuss the situation at a meeting with EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen on Wednesday.
Iran’s ambassador to the UK, Hamid Baeidinejad, tweeted Iran “does not seek escalation or war,” and cited the UN charter as justification for the attacks, which he called self defense.
More to follow as reports come in. Be sure to check back to DCPeriodical.com.