WASHINGTON, January 8. /TASS/. Iran has delivered missile strikes against at least two military facilities in western Iraq, where US troops are deployed, a statement from Assistant to the US Secretary of Defense for Public Affairs Jonathan Hoffman stated on Wednesday.
"At approximately 5:30 p.m. (EST) on January 7, Iran launched more than a dozen ballistic missiles against U.S. military and coalition forces in Iraq," the statement reads. "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."
Hoffman stated that "In recent days and in response to Iranian threats and actions, the Department of Defense has taken all appropriate measures to safeguard our 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.
The statement did not specify the damage or casualties following the missile attacks on the facilities saying "We are working on initial battle damage assessments."
"As we evaluate the situation and our response, we will take all necessary measures to protect and defend U.S. personnel, partners, and allies in the region," the statement added.
The Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) officially claimed the responsibility for the missile attacks stating that US forces, which are involved in acts of aggression against Iran, would be subjected to military attacks.
Iran’s news agency ISNA quoted a statement from the IRGC as saying that the operation in Iraq was code-named ‘Martyr Soleimani.’
"During the operation code-named Martyr Soleimani, soldiers of the IRGC armed forces launched dozens of ground-to-ground missiles and destroyed the US Air Force base," the IRGC stated.
Al Hadath television channel reported on Wednesday Several US military aircraft were destroyed as a result of missile attacks on Al Asad airbase in the west of Iraq.
White House Spokeswoman Stephanie Grisham said in a statement that President Trump was informed about the missile attacks in Iraq.
"The president has been briefed and is monitoring the situation closely and consulting with his national security team," Grisham stated.
The situation in the Middle East deteriorated sharply after the Pentagon announced on January 3 that Commander of the Quds Force of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (the elite wing of the Iranian military) General Qasem Soleimani had been killed in a US airstrike near Baghdad airport. The missile strike came on order of US President Donald Trump.
According to the US Administration, the operation was defensive, as it was aimed at protecting US troops stationed in the Middle East. According to Washington, the attacks planned by the Iranian general could have led to the deaths of hundreds of Americans and Iraqis.
After the attack, Iran’s Supreme National Security Council vowed at an emergency session to exact "severe revenge" on those involved in the killing of Soleimani, blaming the US for the attack. In a telephone call with UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif slammed the attack as an act of terrorism by the US.