After an airstrike on Maj. Gen. Quassem Soleimani, the Iranian Republic announced they would begin their response to the assasination on Wednesday, Jan. 8. That same day, Iran launched missile strikes against Iraqi military bases in Al Asad and Erbil, said the Pentagon. The Al Asad bases house 1500 troops.
According to Fars News Agency, the strikes killed at least 80 U.S. troops. However, President Trump said there were no casualties. “All is well!” tweeted Trump following the attacks.
The Fars News Agency has ties to Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps.
Iranian officials are declaring the attacks as methods of self defense, which is in line with international law. “We do not seek escalation or war, but will defend ourselves against any aggression,” said Javad Zarif, Iran’s foreign minister.
In a debriefing on Wednesday following the attacks, President Trump aimed to diffuse tensions. “Just because we have this great military does not mean that we have to use it,” he said.
President Trump previously threatened to target Iranian cultural sites, which would have been a war crime. He took back his statements, saying, “If that’s what the law is, I like to obey the law.”
The Zarif said the attacks concluded any measures of self-defense to be carried out by the country.
Hours following the strikes, a Ukrainien passenger plane was struck down by an Iranian missile, killing 176 people. Iran originally denied claims that they had attacked the plane and called on the U.S. and Ukraine to release any evidence they had on the incident. It is “highly likely” that an anti-aircraft missile struck down the plane, according to U.S. and Canadian officials.
Iran later admitted to accidentally downing the plane.
According to Reuters, Iraqi and Iranian officials, including Soleimani, met last October to discuss tactics to ease negative sentiment against “Iran’s growing influence in Iraq,” including “mass protests.” Such tactics, including military attacks against U.S. targets as a means of difflecting such sentiment towards the U.S.
American generals attributed the death of a U.S. contractor in a rocket attack to General Soleimani. The attack occurred on Dec. 27, seven days prior to the assassination of Soleimani.