Iranian state television on Wednesday said, 80 "American terrorists" were killed in ballistic missiles targeting at least two bases. (Photo Credit: File Photo)
Iranian state television on Wednesday said, 80 "American terrorists" were killed in ballistic missiles targeting at least two bases where US military and coalition forces' are stationed in Iraq, adding that none of the missiles were intercepted. Revolutionary Guards sources also said, Iran had 100 other targets in the region in its sights if Washington took any retaliatory measures. On Tuesday, Iran's parliament passed a bill designating all US forces "terrorists" over the killing of a top Iranian military commander in a US strike last week.
The state media also claimed US helicopters and military equipment were "severely damaged" in the attack.
Earlier, Iran defended the attack saying all the measures were taken in self-defence. Foreign Minister Javad Zarif said, “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 & senior officials were launched.” The attack on US military bases came after the killing of the commander of Iran's powerful Revolutionary Guards, General Qasem Soleimani, in a US drone strike, which was ordered by President Donald Trump, on Friday.
Qasem Soleimani, the popular head of the Revolutionary Guards' foreign operations arm, was killed in a US drone strike outside Baghdad airport on Friday, ratcheting up tensions between the arch-foes.
Iran’s attack came hours after leader of Iran's Revolutionary Guard threatened on Tuesday to "set ablaze" places supported by the United States. Hossein Salami made the pledge before a crowd of thousands gathered in a central square in Kerman, the hometown of the slain Gen Qassem Soleimani.
Reacting to the attack, US President Donald Trump had tweeted: “All is well! Missiles launched from Iran at two military bases located in Iraq. Assessment of casualties & damages taking place now. So far, so good! We have the most powerful and well equipped military anywhere in the world, by far! I will be making a statement tomorrow morning (sic).”
Who Was General Qasem Soleimani?
Soleimani was one of the most popular figures in Iran and seen as a deadly adversary by America and its allies. General Soleimani, who headed the external operations Quds Force for the Guards, had wielded his regional clout publicly since 2018 when it was revealed that he had direct involvement in top-level talks over the formation of Iraq's government. It was no surprise at the time for a man who has been at the centre of power-broking in the region for two decades.
Soleimani has been in and out of Baghdad ever since, most recently last month as parties sought to form a new government. Where once he kept to the shadows, Soleimani has in recent years become an unlikely celebrity in Iran -- replete with a huge following on Instagram.
His profile rose suddenly when he was pushed forward as the public face of Iran's intervention in the Syrian conflict from 2013, appearing in battlefield photos, documentaries -- and even being featured in a music video and animated film. In a rare interview aired on Iranian state television in October, he said he was in Lebanon during the 2006 Israel-Hezbollah war to oversee the conflict.
To his fans and enemies alike, Soleimani was the key architect of Iran's regional influence, leading the fight against jihadist forces and extending Iran's diplomatic heft in Iraq, Syria and beyond. "To Middle Eastern Shiites, he is James Bond, Erwin Rommel and Lady Gaga rolled into one," wrote former CIA analyst Kenneth Pollack in a profile for Time's 100 most influential people in 2017.