Two military bases were attacked by at least a dozen Iranian missiles late Tuesday in retaliation for the U.S. killing of Gen. Qasem Soleimani. Missiles were fired at al-Asad Airbase in western Iraq and a base in Irbil in northern Iraq, according to the Pentagon.
“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,” said Pentagon spokesperson Jonathan Hoffman. “We are working on initial battle damage assessments.”
Both bases host U.S. and coalition forces assigned to fighting the Islamic State. The United States has about 6,000 soldiers in Iraq, according to a Washington Post estimate.
President Donald Trump has been briefed on the situation and is “monitoring the situation closely and consulting with his national security team,” White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham said in a statement.
Here’s what we know so far about the bases attacked by Iranian missiles.
Tensions have sharply increased between the US and Iran
Tensions between the United States and Iran have sharply increased following the killing of Soleimani in an airstrike ordered by Trump on Thursday.
Iran vowed harsh retaliation for those responsible for Soleimani’s killing, and the country’s Supreme Leader said Monday retaliation would come directly from Iranian forces, rather than proxies.
Trump and Pence visited Al Asad Airbase last year
Al Asad Airbase, located west of Baghdad in Anbar Province, is used by U.S forces assigned to the global coalition fighting the Islamic State.
It is the site of Camp Flores, where Vice President Mike Pence and Second Lady Karen Pence served Thanksgiving dinner to U.S. service members last year.
Trump also made a surprise visit to the base over Christmas 2018, where he delivered remarks about the fight against the Islamic State.
“We’ve knocked them out. We’ve knocked them silly,” he said at the time.
The base was first used by American forces after the 2003 U.S.-led invasion that toppled dictator Saddam Hussein.
Irbil Airbase, in northern Iraq, is located in Iraqi Kurdistan. It is also a base for U.S. troops fighting the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.
Pence visited the base over Thanksgiving 2019, where he addressed troops and discussed the fight against the Islamic State.
“With your courageous service here at Irbil Air Base, you’ve taken the fight to radical Islamic terrorism on our terms, on their soil,” Pence said at the time.
Contributing: John Fritze, Tom Vanden Brook