TEHRAN, Iran - Iran struck back at the United States for the killing of a top Iranian general early Wednesday, firing a series of surface-to-surface missiles at two Iraqi bases housing U.S. troops and warning the United States and its allies in the region not to retaliate.
The attacks were the result of escalating tensions that have been steadily rising in the Middle East following months of threats and attacks after President Donald Trumps's decision to pull out of Tehran's nuclear deal established with world powers.
The Department of Defense released a statement after the strike, which occurred at 5:30 p.m., saying Iran launched more than a dozen ballistic missiles at the two bases at Al-Assad and Irbil. The bases are host both U.S. military and coalition personnel. DoD says they are still working to get initial assessments of the damage done.
Iranian state TV said the attack was in revenge for the killing of Revolutionary Guard Gen. Qassem Soleimani, whose funeral procession Tuesday in his hometown of Kerman prompted angry calls to avenge his death, which drastically raised tensions in the Middle East.
Iran’s Revolutionary Guard warned the U.S. and its regional allies against retaliating over the missile attack against the Ain Assad air base in Iraq’s western Anbar province. The Guard issued the warning 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.
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DoD says the bases have been on high alert following indications that the Iranian regime was planning to attack forces 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," they said.
Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham said the White House was alerted to the attacks and is continuing to watch the situation as it develops.
"The President has been briefed and is monitoring the situation closely and consulting with his national security team."
Ain Assad air base is in Iraq’s western Anbar province. It was first used by American forces after the 2003 U.S.-led invasion that toppled dictator Saddam Hussein, and later saw American troops stationed there amid the fight against the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria. It houses about 1,500 U.S. and coalition forces.
State TV said the operation’s name was “Martyr Soleimani.” It said the Guard’s aerospace division that controls Iran’s missile program launched the attack. Iran said it would release more information later.
A spokesperson for the Norwegian Armed Forces told AP in a phone interview that about 70 Norwegian troops were on the airbase, but no injuries have been reported, Brynjar Stordal, a spokesperson for the Norwegian Armed Forces told AP in a phone interview.”
Wednesday’s revenge attack came a mere few hours after crowds in Iran mourned Soleimani and as the U.S. continued to reinforce its own positions in the region and warned of an unspecified threat to shipping from Iran in the region’s waterways, crucial routes for global energy supplies. U.S. embassies and consulates from Asia to Africa and Europe issued security alerts for Americans. The U.S. Air Force launched a drill with 52 fighter jets in Utah, just days after President Donald Trump threatened to hit 52 sites in Iran.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.