The Ayn al Asad airbase in western Iraq that was visited by Donald Trump in December 2018 and the Erbil base in Iraqi Kurdistan were both struck by the missiles on Tuesday at about 5.30pm (EST).

The Pentagon says the missiles were ‘clearly launched from Iran’ to target U.S. military and coalition forces in Iraq. There was no immediate word on injuries but security sources told CNN that there were Iraqi casualties at the Al Asad airbase.

President Donald Trump has been briefed on the attacks and Defense Secretary Mark Esper and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo were spotted arriving at the White House soon after news of the strikes broke.

Iran’s Revolutionary Guards, which controls the country’s missile program, confirmed that they fired the rockets in retaliation for last week’s killing of Iranian general Qassem Soleimani, according to state TV.

They reported the operation’s name was ‘Martyr Soleimani’ and it took place just hours after the slain general’s funeral.

The rockets used in the attack, according to Iranian TV, were Fatteh-110 ballistic missiles, which have a range of 186 miles or 300km.

The Iranian air force has since deployed multiple fighter jets to patrol it airspace, according to reports – as Iran warned the U.S. and its allies in the region not to retaliate.

Iran has fired more than a dozen ballistic missiles at two Iraqi bases housing American troops in a revenge attack for the U.S. drone strike that killed a top Iranian general

Iran has fired more than a dozen ballistic missiles at two Iraqi bases housing American troops in a revenge attack for the U.S. drone strike that killed a top Iranian general

The rockets hit Ain Asad (pictured) which houses US and coalition troops
The rockets hit Ain Asad (pictured) which houses US and coalition troops

The Ayn al Asad airbase in western Iraq that was visited by Donald Trump in December 2018 and the Erbil base in Iraqi Kurdistan were both struck by the missiles on Tuesday at about 5.30pm (EST)

The Pentagon says the missiles were 'clearly launched from Iran' to target U.S. military and coalition forces in Iraq

The Pentagon says the missiles were ‘clearly launched from Iran’ to target U.S. military and coalition forces in Iraq

Iranian TV airs apparent firing of missiles at US base in Iraq
The Pentagon said it was still working to assess the damage.

‘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,’ a statement from the Pentagon read.

‘It is clear that these missiles were launched from Iran and targeted at least two Iraqi military bases hosting U.S. military and coalition personnel at Al-Assad and Irbil. We are working on initial battle damage assessments.

‘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.’

President Trump has been briefed on the rocket attacks and is expected to address the nation later on Tuesday night.

‘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,’ White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham said immediately after the attacks.

The Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, a branch of the Iranian Armed Forces, reportedly said Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Khamenei was personally in the control center coordinating the attacks.

They also warned U.S. allies in the Middle East that they would face retaliation if America strikes back against any Iranian targets from their bases.

President Trump and First Lady Melania visited the Al Asad airbase in western Iraq in December 2018. The airbase was targeted by Iran on Tuesday in a missile attack

President Trump and First Lady Melania visited the Al Asad airbase in western Iraq in December 2018. The airbase was targeted by Iran on Tuesday in a missile attack

The Ayn al Asad airbase in western Iraq that was visited by Donald Trump in December 2018 and the Erbil base in Iraqi Kurdistan were both struck by the missiles on Tuesday at about 5.30pm (EST)

The Ayn al Asad airbase in western Iraq that was visited by Donald Trump in December 2018 and the Erbil base in Iraqi Kurdistan were both struck by the missiles on Tuesday at about 5.30pm (EST)

The Al Asad base for American and coalition troops (pictured above in December) was struck by missiles 'clearly launched from Iran', U.S. officials say

The Al Asad base for American and coalition troops (pictured above in December) was struck by missiles ‘clearly launched from Iran’, U.S. officials say

Earlier on Tuesday, Defense Secretary Mark Esper said the United States should anticipate retaliation from Iran over the killing in Iraq of Soleimani.

‘I think we should expect that they will retaliate in some way, shape or form,’ Esper 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.’

Trump had also earlier told reporters about the prospect of an Iranian attack: ‘We’re totally prepared.’

‘They’re going to be suffering the consequences and very strongly,’ he said from the Oval Office during a meeting with Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis.

Meanwhile, early reports of an attack at the al-Taji military base, just outside Baghdad, was later reported as a drill.

Local reports initially suggested that five rockets had struck the base after ‘shelter in place’ sirens were heard ringing out around the compound.

Sirens were also heard blaring out inside the U.S. consulate in Erbil, which was one of the bases struck in the missile attack.

However, Kurdistan 24 reporter Barzan Sadiq later tweeted that the base was calm on Tuesday night and suggested the purported attack was likely just a drill

 

However, Kurdistan 24 reporter Barzan Sadiq later tweeted that the base was calm on Tuesday night and suggested the purported attack was likely just a drill

 

Kurdistan 24 reporter Barzan Sadiq later tweeted that the base was al-Taji calm on Tuesday night and suggested the purported attack was likely just a drill

Local reports initially suggested that five rocket had struck the al-Taji military base, situated 30km north of Baghdad, after ‘shelter in place’ siren were heard ringing out around the compound

Reports of the strike occurred just hours after a flurry of US airstrikes were carried out on militia bases in Western Iraq and Syria, targeting Iraq’s Popular Mobilization Units (PMU), a paramilitary umbrella group that is part of the Iraqi government.

U.S. forces were said to be specifically targeting the Kataib Hezbollah (KH), a faction within the PMU, in response to repeated attacks against US-led coalition forces in Iraq.

The targeted three KH bases in Iraq and two in Syria, under the belief each of the locations ‘included weapon storage facilities and command and control locations that KH uses to plan and execute attacks on coalition forces.’

Trump had said troops should stay at the base to watch Iran.

‘I want to be able to watch Iran,’ Trump said in and interview with CBS’s Face the Nation in February 2019.

‘We’re going to keep watching and we’re going to keep seeing and if there’s trouble, if somebody is looking to do nuclear weapons or other things, we’re going to know it before they do.’

Iran is considering its options against America in retaliation for the killing of Quds commander Qassem Soleimeni in Baghdad. The conflict could quickly spiral out of control, dragging in other world powers including Russia, Turkey and China