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Iran launches missiles at US military bases in Iraq, demands full US withdrawal

UPDATE : The US Ain al-Assad air base in W. Iraq and a US facility at Erbil (*Irbil), capital of the Kurdish republic, were hit by 35 missiles early Wednesday, Jan. 8, Tehran announced.

UPDATE: The CENTCOM (United States Central Command) claims that Iran launched 15 missiles. 10 of them hit the US-oprated Ayn al-Assad airbase, one struckt the area near Erbil city (a US military facility is located there). 4 missiles allegedly failed.

Early on January 8, Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps launched at least 10  missiles at the US airbase of Ain al-Assad in Anbar province in western Iraq.

Also, the US base from Erbil was hit. The US Mid-East troops & IDF are on top alert.

The Al Asad airbase houses about 1,500 U.S. and coalition forces.

UPDATE: An Iraqi security source told CNN that there are casualties among the Iraqis at al-Asad air base following the attack. But it is not yet known whether those causalities are wounded or killed.

UPDATE: Iranian TV airs footage showing dozens of ballistic missiles heading towards U.S bases in western Iraq.

UPDATE: Iranian state television said Iran had fired 15 missiles at U.S. targets in Iraq. The U.S. military said at least two Iraqi facilities hosting U.S.-led coalition personnel were targeted at about 1:30 A.M. (2230 GMT on Tuesday).

UPDATE: The Washington Post newspaper reported at least 6 rockets struck at the airport.

Iran launched more than a dozen ballistic missiles against US military and coalition forces in Iraq, the Pentagon said.

“It is clear that these missiles were launched from Iran and targeted at least two Iraqi military bases hosting US military and coalition personnel at Al-Assad and Irbil,” according to a statement from Assistant to the Secretary of Defense for Public Affairs Jonathan Hoffman At approximately 5:30 p.m. (EST).

“We are working on initial battle damage assessments. 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.

“As we evaluate the situation and our response, we will take all necessary measures to protect and defend US personnel, partners, and allies in the region. Due to the dynamic nature of the situation, we will continue to provide updates as they become available,” Hoffman added.

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

Sirens were heard and American helicopters flew over the air base, and total alert has been activated, according to Al Mayadeen TV.

Military jets could be seen flying over the Iraqi capital early Wednesday, hours after Tehran launched more than a dozen ballistic missiles at Iraqi bases where US troops are located.

AFP’s correspondents saw jets cutting through the clouds over Baghdad but could not immediately identify the planes.

Ain Assad air base is located in Iraq’s western Anbar province. It was first used by American forces after the 2003 US-led invasion that toppled dictator Saddam Hussein. It later saw American troops stationed there amid the fight against the ISIS group in Iraq and Syria.

Iran State TV said the operation’s name was “Marytr Soleimani.” It said the Guard’s aerospace division, which controls Iran’s missile program, launched the attack “with tens of missiles” and promised “more crushing responses” in case of further US attacks, the state-run PressTV said on Twitter and via a statement carried by Iran’s state-run IRNA news agency.

“We are warning all American allies, who gave their bases to its terrorist army, that any territory that is the starting point of aggressive acts against Iran will be targeted,” The Guard said. It also threatened Israel.

White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham said the White House is aware of the reports.

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 US helicopters and military equipment were “severely damaged”.

U.S. President Donald Trump said in a tweet that an assessment of casualties and damage from the strikes was under way and that he would make a statement on Wednesday morning.

In an apparently unrelated incident, a Ukrainian airliner with 176 people on board crashed in Iran on Wednesday, killing all those on board, due to technical problems soon after taking off from Tehran’s Imam Khomeini airport, Iranian media and Ukrainian officials said.