In retaliation for the US killing of General Qasem Soleimani, Iran has carried out a ballistic missile attack on air bases housing US forces in Iraq.
More than a dozen missiles launched from Iran struck two air bases in Irbil and Al Asad, west of Baghdad.
At this moment, it is unclear if there have been any casualties.
The initial response from Washington has been muted.
President Donald Trump tweeted: “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.”
Two Iraqi bases housing US and coalition troops were targeted, one at Al Asad and one in Irbil, at about 02:00 local time on January 8. It came just hours after the burial of Qasem Soleimani, who controlled Iran’s proxy forces across the Middle East.
Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei said the attack was “a slap in the face” for the US and called for an end to their presence in the Middle East.
Echoing him, President Hassan Rouhani said Iran’s “final answer” to Qasem Soleimani’s assassination would be to “kick all US forces out of the region”.
Iraq’s PM Adel Abdul Mahdi said Iran warned him that an attack was imminent and only areas with US troops would be targeted. There were no reports of Iraqi casualties, he said.
Just hours after the missile strikes a Ukrainian airliner crashed in Iran shortly after take-off. There is no evidence that the two incidents are linked.
Several airlines have announced they are avoiding both Iranian and Iraqi airspace amid the rising tension.
This is the most direct assault by Iran on the US since the seizing of the US embassy in Tehran in 1979.
Iran’s Revolutionary Guards said the attack was in retaliation for the death of Qasem Soleimani on Friday – killed in a missile strike outside Baghdad airport on the orders of President Trump – and warned US allies that their bases could also be targeted.
Iran’s Defense Minister Amir Hatami said his country’s response to any US retaliation would be proportional to the US action.
However, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said the attack was self-defense and denied seeking to escalate the situation into war.
He 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.”