Iran launched what the Pentagon subsequently assessed were sixteen ballistic missiles into Iraq. According to the Secretary of Defense, Mark Esper, these struck “two Iraqi bases that hosted American and coalition troops”. In a statement confirming the operation, which followed the killing by the U.S. of Qods Force Commander Qassem Soleimani, the IRGC warned that “all U.S. allies who give their bases to its terrorist army that any territory that in any way becomes the starting point of hostile and aggressive acts against the Islamic Republic of Iran will be targeted”. Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif emphasised that “Iran took and concluded proportionate measures in self-defence under Article 51 of UN Charter targeting base from which cowardly armed attack against our citizens and senior officials were launched”. “We do not seek escalation or war, but will defend ourselves against any aggression”, he added. President Trump’s initial response to the Iranian operation came by tweet, stating that “all is well”.
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