Hours after Iran launched missile attacks on US-led forces in Iraq early on Wednesday, US President Donald Trump asserted that all is well, adding that the US has the most powerful and well-equipped military anywhere in the world. He further said that he will be making a statement on Wednesday evening.
Taking to Twitter, the US President said, “All is well! Missiles launched from Iran at 2 military bases located in Iraq. Assessment of casualties&damages taking place now. So far, so good! We have the most powerful & well-equipped military anywhere in the world, by far! I will be making a statement tomorrow morning.”
Iran attacked several locations, including the al-Asad airbase, in retaliation for the US drone strike on an Iranian commander Qassem Soleimani whose killing raised fears of a wider Middle East conflict.
Iranian leader Ali Khamenei said the missile attack was a “slap on the face” of the United States and that US troops should leave the region. He was addressing a gathering of Iranians who chanted “Death to America”. Iranian state television said Iran had fired 15 missiles at US targets. The US military said at least two Iraqi facilities hosting US-led coalition personnel were targeted at about 1:30 a.m. Iraq time (2230 GMT on Tuesday). Iraq said 22 missiles were fired.
Iranian officials said Tehran did not want a war and its strikes “concluded” its response to Friday`s killing of Qassem Soleimani, a powerful general whose burial after days of mourning was completed around the time of the missile launches. Iranian television showed mourners celebrating the attack.
Iranian state television said 80 “American terrorists” had been killed and US helicopters and military equipment damaged. It did not provide evidence of how it obtained that information. Germany, Denmark, Norway and Poland said none of their troops in Iraq was hurt. Britain, which also has personnel in Iraq, condemned the Iranian action. Iraq said its forces did not suffer casualties.
More than 5,000 US troops remain in Iraq along with other foreign forces in the coalition that has trained and backed Iraqi forces against the threat of Islamic State militants. Iran, which has long said US forces should leave the Middle East, told Washington after the attacks to withdraw its troops to prevent more deaths and warned US allies including Israel not to allow attacks from their territories.