Iranian state TV says 80 'American terrorists' killed in Iran missile strikes
January 8, 2020
Iranian state TV says 80 'American terrorists' killed in Iran missile strikes
BAGHDAD/WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Iranian state television said on Wednesday that at least 80 “American terrorists” were killed in attacks involving 15 missiles Tehran launched on US targets in Iraq, adding that none of the missiles were intercepted.
State TV, citing a senior Revolutionary Guards source, also said Iran had 100 other targets in the region in its sights if Washington took any retaliatory measures. It also said U.S. helicopters and military equipment were “severely damaged”.
On Wednesday morning, Iran had launched a missile attack on US-led forces in Iraq in retaliation for the US drone strike on an Iranian commander whose killing has raised fears of a wider war in the Middle East.
Tehran fired more than a dozen ballistic missiles from Iranian territory against at least two Iraqi facilities hosting US-led coalition personnel at about 1:30 a.m. local time, the US military said on Tuesday.
US President Donald Trump said in a tweet late on Tuesday that an assessment of casualties and damage from the strikes was under way and that he would make a statement on Wednesday morning. “All is well!” Trump said in the Twitter post.
Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps confirmed they fired the missiles to retaliate for last week’s killing of Qassem Soleimani, according to a statement on state TV.
The statement advised the United States to withdraw its troops from the region to prevent more deaths and warned US allies including Israel not to allow attacks from their territories.
Pentagon spokesman Jonathan Hoffman said in a statement that the bases targeted were al-Asad air base and another facility in Erbil, Iraq.
“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.”
Trump, who visited the al-Asad air base in December 2018, was briefed on reports of the attack and was monitoring the situation, White House spokeswoman Stephanie Grisham said.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and US Defense Secretary Mark Esper arrived at the White House following news of the attack. It was unclear what response, if any, the United States was planning.
Hours earlier on Tuesday, Esper said the United States should anticipate retaliation from Iran over Friday’s killing in Iraq of Soleimani, commander of the elite Quds Force.
“I think we should expect that they will retaliate in some way, shape or form,” he told a news briefing at the Pentagon, adding that such retaliation could be through Iran-backed proxy groups outside of Iran or “by their own hand.”
“We’re prepared for any contingency. And then we will respond appropriately to whatever they do.”
Stock markets in Asia fell sharply on news of the rocket attack, while investor safe havens including the Japanese yen and gold shot higher. U.S. crude prices surged almost 5% on worries any conflict could cut oil supplies.
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said Iran took “proportionate measures in self-defense under Article 51 of the UN Charter,” targeting the bases where the attack against its citizens and senior officials was launched.
“We do not seek escalation or war, but will defend ourselves against any aggression,” he wrote in a post on Twitter.
The US Federal Aviation Administration said it would ban U.S. carriers from operating in the airspace over Iraq, Iran, the Gulf and the Gulf of Oman. Singapore Airlines had already diverted all flight routes from Iranian airspace.
Democrats in the US Congress and some of the party’s presidential contenders warned about the escalating conflict.
“Closely monitoring the situation following bombings targeting U.S. troops in Iraq,” U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi said on Twitter. “We must ensure the safety of our service members, including ending needless provocations from the Administration and demanding that Iran cease its violence. America & world cannot afford war.”
‘WE WILL TAKE REVENGE’
Soleimani, a pivotal figure in orchestrating Iran’s long-standing campaign to drive US forces out of Iraq, was also responsible for building up Tehran’s network of proxy armies across the Middle East.
He was a national hero to many Iranians but viewed as a dangerous villain by Western governments opposed to Iran’s arc of influence running across the Levant and into the Gulf region.
A senior Iranian official said on Tuesday that Tehran was considering several scenarios to avenge Soleimani’s death. Other senior figures have said the Islamic Republic would match the scale of the killing when it responds, but that it would choose the time and place.
“We will take revenge, a hard and definitive revenge,” the head of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards, General Hossein Salami, told throngs who crowded the streets for Soleimani’s funeral on Tuesday in Kerman, his hometown in southeastern Iran.
Soleimani’s burial went ahead after several hours of delay following a stampede that killed at least 56 people and injured more than 210, according to Iran’s semi-official Fars news agency.
Soleimani’s body had been taken to holy Shi’ite Muslim cities in Iraq and Iran, as well as the Iranian capital, Tehran, before arriving to be buried in the city cemetery’s “martyrs section”, according to the semi-official news agency ISNA.
In each place, huge numbers of people filled thoroughfares, chanting: “Death to America” and weeping with emotion. Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei wept as he led prayers in Tehran.
Prompted by the strong public backlash over Soleimani’s killing on Iraqi soil, lawmakers in Iraq voted on Sunday to demand a removal of all foreign forces from the country.
More than 5,000 U.S. troops remain in Iraq along with other foreign forces as part of a coalition that has trained and backed up Iraqi security forces against the threat of Islamic State militants.
Some 115 German soldiers are stationed in Erbil and all are fine, a spokesman for Bundeswehr operations said.
A NATO official told Reuters it would move some of its several hundred trainers out of Iraq. Canada said on Tuesday some of its 500 Iraq-based forces would be temporarily moved to Kuwait for safety reasons.
US officials have said Soleimani was killed because of solid intelligence indicating forces under his command planned attacks on US targets in the region, although they have provided no evidence.
Ali Shamkhani, secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council, said 13 “revenge scenarios” were being considered, Fars news agency reported. Even the weakest option would prove “a historic nightmare for the Americans”, he said.
92 News (also known as 92 News HD Plus (Channel 92) is a conservative Urdu language TV channel based in Lahore, Pakistan.
Mian Muhammad Hanif is the chairman of the channel.
This TV channel is a subsidiary of Madinah Group under Galaxy Media Group.
The channel's name, 92, is to celebrate the 1992 Cricket World Cup won by Pakistan. The number 92 is also the telephone country calling code of Pakistan, which is another major reason behind the channel's name.
92 News HD is Pakistan’s first HD Plus News Channel. Aims to bring credible & responsible News & important stories from Pakistan & around the World
We bring you Latest Pakistani and International News at 92 News Hd Plus to Read and Watch
We believe in genuine and true journalism, we do not prevail sensation just for ratings.
We do not hide news but never tend to add any unethical content or angling that goes against the norms of our religion Islam and Pakistan's culture.
We will never bother you as we have advance notification system for the latest news and updates. You will see a button at bottom of page to disable anytime.