Trump says no US casualties, Iran appears to be standing down; 10 updates

Iran fired a series of rockets at two US-Iraqi airbases early Wednesday morning, in the first Iranian response to the killing of General Qassem Soleimani by American forces last week. The Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps earlier claimed responsibility for the barrage, which the Pentagon said was launched from Iran. A total of 15 rockets were launched, 10 of which hit the Ayn al-Asad base in western Iraq and another facility in Erbil, according to two US officials. Another struck the Taji air base near Baghdad while four fell out of the sky.

Here are top 10 developments on US-Iran conflict

1. Trump says no US casualties, Iran appears to be standing down

US President Donald Trump said on Wednesday there were no American casualties in the Iranian strikes on military bases housing US troops in Iraq and that Tehran appeared to be standing down.

"No Americans were harmed in last night's attack by the Iranian regime. We suffered no casualties," Trump said in a White House address. "Our great American forces are prepared for anything. Iran appears to be standing down."

2. Iraq president 'denounces' Iran missile strikes that killed 80 US soldiers

Iraq's President Barham Saleh on Wednesday condemned Iran's missile strikes on Iraqi bases where US and other foreign troops are based, saying he feared "dangerous developments" in the region.

"We denounce the Iranian missile bombing that hit military installations on Iraqi territory and renew our rejection of the repeated violation of state sovereignty and the transformation of Iraq into a battlefield for warring sides," his office said in a statement.

3. Netanyahu warns of 'resounding blow' if Iran attacks Israel

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned on Wednesday that Israel would strike a "resounding blow" if attacked by arch foe Iran, as regional tensions soar after the US killing of a top Iranian general.

"Anyone who attacks us will receive a resounding blow," the premier told a Jerusalem conference after Iran launched a salvo retaliatory missile strikes on bases used by US troops in Iraq.

4. 80 US personnel killed in missile attack, claims Iran 

Some 80 US personnel were killed and nearly 200 others injured during a missile attack on the American Ain al-Asad airbase in Iraq on Wednesday, claimed Iran. The attack was launched in retaliation to the killing of Major General Qasem Soleimani, an IRGC source claimed.

Speaking to the Teheran-based private Tasnim News Agency, the source said the ballistic missiles launched by the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) killed at least 80 "American terrorist forces".

"At least 104 targets from the positions of the Americans and their allies in the region have been identified, and if the Americans make any mistake again, those positions will be targeted," the source warned.

5. Iran threatens to attack Dubai, Haifa if country is bombed

Iran's elite Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) has warned that it will launch attacks on cities of Dubai in the UAE and Haifa in Israel if the Iranian soil is bombed in the future. In its Telegram channel, the IRGC said that the two cities will be targetted in the third wave of operations if Iran was bombed, CNN reported.

The warning came hours after Iran launched a series of attacks on US targets in Iraq including the targetting of two bases at Al-Asad and Erbil with over a dozen ballistic missiles amid rising tensions following the killing of senior Iranian general Qassem Soleimani in a US airstrike last week.

6. India asks citizens to avoid non-essential travel to Iraq

The government on Wednesday issued a travel advisory, asking citizens to avoid non-essential travel to Iraq in view of prevailing situation in the Gulf country.

"In view of the prevailing situation in Iraq, Indian nationals are advised to avoid all non-essential travel to Iraq until further notification," the advisory by Ministry of External Affairs said.

It said Indian nationals residing in Iraq are advised to be alert and may avoid travel within Iraq.

"Our Embassy in Baghdad and Consulate in Erbil will continue to function normally to provide all services to Indians residing in Iraq," according to MEA.

7. Iran's supreme leader tells US to leave the region

Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said on Wednesday the United States should withdraw from the region and said Tehran's missile attacks on U.S. targets in Iraq were "a slap on the face" for America.

"Military action like this is not sufficient. What is important is ending the corrupting presence of America in the region," Khamenei said in a televised speech, ruling out any resumption of talks with Washington about a 2015 nuclear deal.

Khamenei also said the United States was trying to remove Lebanon's Iranian-aligned movement Hezbollah in its bid to help Israel.

8. Donald Trump tweets, "all is well"

US President Donald Trump said that "all is well" following a retaliatory Iranian missile attack on US led forces and that he would make a statement on the situation later on.

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!" Trump wrote in a post on Twitter.

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.

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 8, 2020

9. We took proportionate measures in self-defence, says Iran

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said on Twitter that the government took “proportionate measures in self-defense” after the Soleimani strike.

“We do not seek escalation or war, but will defend ourselves against any aggression,” Zarif wrote.

Iran took & concluded proportionate measures in self-defense under Article 51 of UN Charter targeting base from which cowardly armed attack against our citizens & senior officials were launched.

We do not seek escalation or war, but will defend ourselves against any aggression.

— Javad Zarif (@JZarif) January 8, 2020

10. US flights from flying over Iraq, Iran banned

The US Federal Aviation Administration will ban US carriers from operating in the airspace over Iraq, Iran, the Gulf of Oman and the waters between Iran and Saudi Arabia. The FAA said it issued the airspace ban "due to heightened military activities and increased political tensions in the Middle East, which present an inadvertent risk to US civil aviation operations."

Business Standard is now on Telegram.
For insightful reports and views on business, markets, politics and other issues, subscribe to our official Telegram channel