Iran fires rockets at US forces in Iraq: All the latest updates

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Iran has fired more than a dozen rockets at two Iraqi military bases hosting US troops, the Pentagon confirmed.   

The rockets fired at the Ain al-Asad base in Anbar province and a base in Erbil early on Wednesday came amid escalating tensions between Tehran and Washington. 

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The attacks follow the US killing of Iranian military commander Qassem Soleimani in Iraq last week. Iran had vowed severe retailiation. 

Here are all of the latest updates as of Wednesday, January 8:

India issues travel warning on Iraq

India issued a travel warning asking its citizens to avoid “non-essential” travel to Iraq.

“In view of the prevailing situation in Iraq, Indian nationals are advised to avoid all non-essential travel to Iraq until further notification,” India’s foreign ministry said in a statement.

“Indian nationals residing in Iraq are advised to be alert and may avoid travel within Iraq,” it said, adding that the Indian embassy in Baghdad and consulate in Erbil remain operational.

Pakistan warns citizens to “exercise maximum caution”

Pakistan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs advised Pakistan citizens planning to visit Iraq to “exercise maximum caution”.

Those already in Iraq are advised to remain in close contact with Pakistan’s embassy in Baghdad.

Japan urges diplomacy after Iran missile attack

Japan urged a return to diplomacy and called on governments to do their utmost to help ease tensions following the Iranian missile attack at bases in Iraq used by US forces.

Japanese Chief Cabinet spokesman Yoshihide Suga said the government would “coordinate with the related governments to collect intelligence while we ensure the safety of Japanese citizens in the region.” 

“Japan will also urge all related nations to do their utmost diplomatic effort to improve the relations,” he added. 

US security posture in UAE unchanged after Iraq attacks – official

The United States has maintained its security posture in key ally the United Arab Emirates, a spokesperson from the US embassy said.

“The US security posture in the UAE has not changed,” the spokesperson told Reuters.

Oil surges, stocks fall after Iran attack

Oil prices surged after the Iran attack on US forces in Iraq, raising the prospect of a regional conflagration that could disrupt oil supplies. Stocks fell sharply.

Brent crude futures soared $1.83, or 2.7 percent, to $70.10 by about 01:48 GMT, after earlier rising to $71.75, the highest since mid-September 2019.

Gold bar

The price of gold soared in the wake of the Iran attacks as investors worried about further escalations [File: Tamara Abdul Hadi/Reuters]

The price of gold also shot higher, rising 1.91 percent on the spot market to $1,603.93 per ounce ($30,161.88 per gramme) as investors rushed for safe-haven investments.

“We’ve moved on from how Iran will respond to now anticipating the US 52-pronged response as the US military forces in the region are in a heightened state of alert while likely preparing for war,” said Stephen Innes, strategist at AxiTrader. “It’s not going to be pretty today.”

Read more here.

Philippines to evacuate citizens from Iraq

The Philippines has ordered a mandatory evacuation of Filipinos in Iraq, its foreign ministry said on Wednesday following the attack on US forces there.

“The Alert Level in the entire Iraq has been raised to Alert Level 4 calling for mandatory evacuation,” said Eduardo Mendez, a spokesman at the Department of Foreign Affairs.

Iranian official warns any US retaliation will lead to regional war

Any US retaliation to Iran’s missile attacks on American targets in Iraq could lead to an all-out war in the Middle East, an adviser to Iranian President Hassan Rouhani tweeted on Wednesday.

“Any adverse military action by the US will be met with an all out war across the region. The Saudis, however, could take a different path – they could have total peace!” Hessameddin Ashena said in a statement on Twitter.

 

Trump tweets ‘all is well’ 

Following the attacks, Trump said “all is well” and he will be making a statement on Wednesday morning local time. 

“All is well!” Trump tweeted. “Missiles launched from Iran at two military bases located in Iraq. Assessment of casualties & damages taking place now. So far, so good! We have the most powerful and well equipped military anywhere in the world, by far! I will be making a statement tomorrow morning.”

All is well! Missiles launched from Iran at two military bases located in Iraq. Assessment of casualties & damages taking place now. So far, so good! We have the most powerful and well equipped military anywhere in the world, by far! I will be making a statement tomorrow morning.— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 8, 2020

Zarif: Iran took proportionate measures in self-defence

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said on Twitter that Iran took what it considered to be proportionate measures and does not seek an escalation of war. 

“Iran took & concluded proportionate measures in self-defense under Article 51 of UN Charter targeting base from which cowardly armed attack against our citizens & senior officials were launched. We do not seek escalation or war, but will defend ourselves against any aggression,” Zarif tweeted. 

Iran took & concluded proportionate measures in self-defense under Article 51 of UN Charter targeting base from which cowardly armed attack against our citizens & senior officials were launched.

We do not seek escalation or war, but will defend ourselves against any aggression.— Javad Zarif (@JZarif) January 8, 2020

Soleimani buried 

Iran has buried the top Revolutionary Guard general killed by a US airstrike in Baghdad.

The burial of Qassem Soleimani came after a stampede at his funeral killed 56 and Iran launched a ballistic missile attack on Iraqi bases housing American troops in response to his assassination. 

Officials lowered the shroud-wrapped remains of Soleimani into the ground in the southeastern city of Kerman just before 6am Wednesday local time.

Australian PM says all personnel in Iraq safe

Australia Prime Minister Scott Morrison said all of the country’s diplomatic and military personnel stationed in Iraq were safe, after Iran launched missile attacks on US bases there.

Speaking to reporters from a bushfire-ravaged island in southern Australia, Morrison said the situation in Iraq was very fluid and he was receiving constant updates.

Morrison said he would be returning to the capital, Canberra, later on Wednesday to meet with defence chiefs and the relevant ministers.

Pompeo briefs Kurdistan PM Barzani on Iran missile attacks

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo briefed Kurdistan Regional Government Prime Minister Masrour Barzani on Iran’s missile attacks on two Iraqi military bases, including in Erbil, the State Department said in a statement.

“The Secretary and Prime Minister Barzani agreed to stay in close touch as the situation develops,” the statement said.

IRGC commander says missile attacks ‘first step’: State TV

Iran’s missile attacks on US targets in Iraq was the first step and Tehran will not spare American troops, Iranian state TV quoted a Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) commander as saying.

“The missile attacks today were just the first step (US President Donald) should think about withdrawing its troops from the region and not to leave them within our reach,” Iranian state TV quoted the commander as saying, without naming him.

iraq us bases map

US official: Very few if any casualties from Iranian attack on sites in Iraq

There have been very few casualties, if any, from the Iranian attacks on sites hosting US forces in Iraq, a US official told the Associated Press news agency. 

Iran’s telecommunications minister: ‘Get the hell out of our region’ 

Following Wednesday’s attacks, Iranian telecommunication minister Mohammad-Javad Azari Jahromi tweeted: “Get the hell out of our region!” 

Get the hell out of our region!#HardRevenge????— MJ Azari Jahromi (@azarijahromi) January 8, 2020

Biden: I’m holding off on making a comment

Joe Biden, the former US vice president and a frontrunner in the 2020 Democratic presidential race, tweeted he was going to hold off on making a comment on Wednesday’s strike. 

“I’m going to hold off on commenting on the news tonight until we know more, but there is one thing I will say: Jill and I are keeping our troops and Americans overseas in our prayers. We hope you’ll keep them in yours,” Biden tweeted. 

I’m going to hold off on commenting on the news tonight until we know more, but there is one thing I will say: Jill and I are keeping our troops and Americans overseas in our prayers. We hope you’ll keep them in yours.— Joe Biden (@JoeBiden) January 8, 2020

US FAA bans airlines from flying over Iraq, Iran

The US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) said it would ban US carriers from operating in the airspace over Iraq, Iran, the Gulf of Oman and the waters between Iran and Saudi Arabia after Iran launched a missile attack on US-led forces in Iraq.

Trump unlikely to immediately make televised address: reports

US President Donald Trump is unlikely to address the US on Tuesday night local time, US media said following reports he was preparing to give a televised speech. 

What war powers does Trump have? 

Under the US Constitution, authority to direct military action is divided between Congress and the president.

Congress has the power to declare war while the president, as commander in chief, has power to use the military to defend the US.

Trump on Soleimani

Trump delivers remarks following the US Military killing against Iranian General Qassem Soleimani in Baghdad, Iraq [Tom Brenner/Reuters] 

From the beginning, presidents and Congress have disputed over whether presidents have constitutional authority to send forces into hostilities abroad without congressional authorisation, according to a history of the law prepared by the Congressional Research Service.

Read more here

Iran used surface-to-surface missiles: Fars 

Iran used Fateh-313 surface-to-surface missiles to hit Ain al-Asad airbase, Iran’s semi-officials Fars news agency reported.  

Trump to address US 

US President Donald Trump is expected to address the US Tuesday night local time. 

Iran starts ‘second round’ of attacks against US bases in Iraq: Tasnim

Iran has started its “second round” of attacks against bases holding US troops in Iraq, the Tehran-based Tasnim news agency said on Wednesday.

The second round of attacks started an hour after the first phase took place, the agency reported.

Pelosi: America and world cannot afford war

US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi tweeted she was following the events in Iraq. 

“Closely monitoring the situation following bombings targeting U.S. troops in Iraq,” Pelosi said. “We must ensure the safety of our servicemembers, including ending needless provocations from the Administration and demanding that Iran cease its violence. America & world cannot afford war.” 

Closely monitoring the situation following bombings targeting U.S. troops in Iraq. We must ensure the safety of our servicemembers, including ending needless provocations from the Administration and demanding that Iran cease its violence. America & world cannot afford war.— Nancy Pelosi (@SpeakerPelosi) January 8, 2020

Democrats were angered over US President Donald Trump decision to order the killing of Soleimani without consulting Congress. 

House Democrats are preparing to vote later this week on a War Powers Resolution aimed at limited Trump’s actions in Iran. 

Trump may address US following attacks on US forces: reports 

US media reported the White House is making plans for a possible address by US President Donald Trump following the attacks against US forces in Iraq. Al Jazeera has not independently confirmed those reports. 

iraq us bases map

Iran threatens to attack Israel and US allies

Iran’s Revolutionary Guard warned US regional allies, including Israel, that they will be attacked if their countries are used for attacks against Tehran, Iranian state media said. 

Ain al-Assad attack

This still image from an Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting video allegedly shows rockets launched from Iran against the US military base in Ein-al Asad in Iraq [Handout/IRIB/AFP]

White House: Trump briefed on attacks on US forces in Iraq 

White House Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham said US President Donald Trump has been briefed and is monitoring the situation in Iraq. 

“We are aware of the reports of attacks on US facilities in Iraq,” Grisham tweeted. “The President has been briefed and is monitoring the situation closely and consulting with his national security team.”

We are aware of the reports of attacks on US facilities in Iraq. The President has been briefed and is monitoring the situation closely and consulting with his national security team.— Stephanie Grisham (@PressSec) January 7, 2020

Pompeo and Esper arrive the White House

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Defense Secretary Mark Esper have arrived at the White House following the attacks on US forces in Iraq.  

IRGC: Rockets in revenge of Soleimani killing 

Iran’s Revolutionary Guards confirmed it fired rockets at US forces in Iraq in revenge for the killing of Soleimani. 

Iran threatens ‘more crushing responses’ if fresh US attack: State TV 

Tehran has threatened “more crushing responses” if the US retaliates for Wednesday’s rocket attack, Iranian state TV said. 

Pentagon confirms rockets fired at two Iraqi bases hosting US troops

Tehran fired more than a dozen ballistic missiles from Iranian territory against at least two Iraqi military bases hosting US-led coalition personnel, the Pentagon confirmed. 

“We are working on initial battle damage assessments,” Pentagon spokesman Jonathan Hoffman said in statement, adding that the bases targeted were at Ain al-Asad air base and another in Erbil, Iraq.

Attacks underway on multiple locations in Iraq: US official 

The US believes there have been potentially multiple attacks on locations in Iraq, including the Ain al-Asad airbase that hosts US forces, a US official told Reuters, without providing additional information.

Another U.S. official, speaking on condition of anonymity, had confirmed to Reuters earlier that a rocket attack had taken place against Ain al-Asad airbase, but did not confirm other sites.

US official confirms airstrikes at Iraq’s Ain al-Asad air base housing US troops

US official confirms to the Associated Press news agency that airstrikes were carried out at Iraq’s Ain Asad air base housing US troops.

Iran fires rockets at Iraq base housing US troops

Iran has fired more than a dozen rockets at Iraq’s Ain al-Asad military base, which houses US troops, Iraqi sources told Al Jazeera. 

“We have had not had any reports of casualties or damage,” Al Jazeera’s Osama bin Javaid said, reporting from Baghdad. 

The rockets come less than a week after the US killing of Iranian military commander Qassem Soleimani in Iraq.

Iran had vowed severe retaliation.