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Friday, April 12, 2024

Iran declared war by launching missile attacks on U.S. Forces in Iraq

Iran fired 22 missiles at two Iraqi bases, Ain al-Asad military base and the Erbil facility, hosting US troops amid escalating tensions following US killing of Iran's General Qassem Soleimani. Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said Iran took "proportionate measures in self-defence" under Article 51 of the UN Charter.

Iran on Wednesday launched a missile attack on an Iraqi airbase where US forces are based, threatening “more crushing responses” if Washington carried out further strikes, Iranian state media said.

It said the missiles were in response to a US strike last week that killed Iranian general Qasem Soleimani and Iraqi top commander Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis.

The Iraqi military said in a statement that 22 missiles were launched on the Ain al-Asad air base and a base in Erbil between 1:45am and 2:15am, but there were no casualties among Iraqi forces.

The attack came in three waves just after midnight, the sources said.

Iran swiftly claimed responsibility for the attack, with state TV saying it had launched “tens of missiles” on the base and promised “more crushing responses” if the US carried out further strikes.

The US-led coalition and NATO announced they were temporarily suspending their operations in Iraq

The Iranian Foreign Minister, Javed Zarif, has defended the Iran’s response and said that it was an act of self defense in line with Article 51 of the UN Charter. He clarified that while Iran is not seeking war, it will defend itself.

The Pentagon said Iran had fired more than a dozen missiles against Ain al-Asad and another installation hosting US and coalition forces near Arbil.

It said bases hosting foreign troops had expected an attack and had been on “high alert” for days.

US President Donald Trump was “monitoring the situation closely and consulting with his national security team,” according to the White House.

The attack came after pro-Tehran factions in Iraq had vowed to join forces to “respond” to the killing of General Qassem Soleimani and Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis last week.

Soleimani was seen as the “godfather” of Tehran’s proxy network across the region and Muhandis, one of his top advisors, was the deputy head of Iraq’s Hashed al-Shaabi military network.

Read more: Qasem Soleimani: Is US operating under Law of Jungle?

Many factions within the Hashed, which has been incorporated into the Iraqi state, have ties to Tehran.

On Tuesday, a hardline Hashed faction issued its fiercest threat yet to retaliate.

“The US Marines must immediately return to their dens to make their coffins,” said Akram al-Kaabi, head of the Harakat al-Nujaba group.

“The International Resistance Regiments have been formed in order to execute a harsh, deliberate response to the American terrorist forces,” Kaabi added.

His deputy had earlier called for an urgent meeting to unite anti-American forces across Iraq.

“We will wage a war against the American presence in all parts of the region that we can reach,” said Nasr al-Shammary.

Read more: PM Netanyahu distances Israel from Gen. Soleimani killing

US installations across Iraq had faced some 15 rocket attacks in recent months but none had been claimed.

As a result, the US-led coalition and NATO announced they were temporarily suspending their operations in Iraq.

AFP with additional input by GVS News Desk.