Footage appears to show moment of attack on base
War in Middle East: Iran missiles hit US troops
Iranian military forces have said they are prepared to use medium- to long-range missiles to attack US bases in the Middle East, in revenge for the assassination of the country’s most senior general, Qassem Suleimani. According to a report by the semi-official Tasnim news agency, Iran has prepared 13 scenarios for retaliation, and the secretary of Iran’s national security council said that even the most limited of the options would be a “historic nightmare” for the US.
Ali Shamkhani told the news agency: “The 27 US bases that are closest to Iran’s border are already on high alert; they know that the response is likely to include medium-range & long-range missiles.”
Observers said that the escalating military rhetoric may leave Iranian leaders with little option but to attempt a major counterattack, or else face an extraordinary loss of face. The warnings have led US bases in Kuwait, Iraq, Jordan and Saudi Arabia to be placed on maximum alert status.
Members of the so-called Resistance axis, including pro-Iranian militias from Iraq, will meet in Tehran in the next 48 hours to discuss tactics, it was reported. The leader of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps, Maj Gen Hossein Salami, warned on Tuesday that Iran would “set ablaze the places Americans love”.
Speaking to a crowd of thousands of mourners in Suleimani’s home town, Kerman, Salami said: “We will take revenge – a revenge that will be tough, strong, decisive and finishing and will make them regret.”
Other military figures speaking at the funeral said any base of US naval assets within 2,000 miles of Iran was a possible target. The Iranian foreign minister, Javad Zarif, insisted the Iranian response to US state terrorism would be proportionate, and not conducted by surrogate forces.
“This is an act of aggression against Iran, and it amounts to an armed attack against Iran, and we will respond. But we will respond proportionately – not disproportionately … We are not lawless like President Trump.”
He said the attack would occur at the time of Iran’s choosing. He added “Unlike the United States, we do not take cowardly terrorist acts ... when we do it, we will declare it.”
Such a move would mark a change of tactics for Iran which has traditionally depended on surrogate forces to carry out attacks on its behalf. In a lengthy speech to the Tehran Dialogue Forum, Zarif claimed that the US attack will have doomed the US to end its presence in the Middle East, but he argued that this would require closer cooperation between states that have been at loggerheads for decades.
After Suleimani’s death on Thursday, Iraq’s acting prime minister, Adel Abdul-Mahdi, said that he had been due to meet the general, who he said was bringing a message from Iran intended to reduce tensions with its regional rival Saudi Arabia. Speaking in Washington on Tuesday, the US secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, rejected the suggestion that Suleimani was on a diplomatic mission.
“Is there any history that would indicate that it was remotely possible that this kind gentleman, this diplomat of great order Qassem Suleimani had traveled to Baghdad for the idea of conducting a peace mission?” he asked reporters derisively.
“We not only know the history, we know in that moment that was not true. Zarif is a propagandist of the first order.”
The Pentagon has sent six B-52 strategic bombers to the military base on the Indian Ocean island of Diego Garcia, which is beyond the range of Iran’s ballistic missiles, to prepare to hit Tehran if given the order. The Iranian parliament on Tuesday voted for a motion, dubbed the “Harsh Revenge Motion”, which designates the Pentagon and those involved in the assassination of Suleimani as terrorists.
The MPs also voted to allocate €200m ($225m) to the Revolutionary Guards Corps’ al-Quds force within the next two months. The parliamentarians wrote in a letter: “If this harsh revenge is proportionate, direct and military, and is taken promptly, America’s factious grandeur will be destroyed and US officials will truly understand that the era of hitting and running is over.
“Furthermore, it is necessary to concentrate on the issue of American military forces’ withdrawal from the West Asian region so that this aim will be achieved with the help of the Resistance Axis.”
War in Middle East
· Iran threatens to attack Dubai and Haifa if country is bombed: 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.
· Iran threatens to attack inside America if US responds to missile attacks: 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”
· Security has been increased around the grounds of the White House tonight in light of the current tensions with Iran, a law enforcement official said. A US Secret Service official declined to comment, passing along a statement released by the agency, saying it "continually assesses the threat environment surrounding all protectees." USSS officers with assault rifles were spotted at checkpoints near the White House.
A dozen missiles fired
The Pentagon confirmed that Iran launched missiles at US military and coalition forces in Iraq. The Pentagon said Iran fired more than a dozen missiles.
"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.
"We are working on initial battle damage assessments," he added.
The bases, he said, have been on high alert "due to indications that the Iranian regime planned to attack our forces and interests in the region."
"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 Pentagon said.
How a war starts
Iran’s state-run news Press TV reports the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) targeted the US airbase of Ain al-Asad in Anbar province in western Iraq. The attack comes after a vow to retaliate "the US assassination of top Iranian anti-terror commander, Lt. Gen. Qassem Soleimani."
"Tens of surface-to-surface missiles" were fired at the strategic air base. The attack was later confirmed by the White House, the report said.
The IRGC added that it would release more details about the strike.