IRGC: No missiles intercepted in attack on US bases, casualties reported

Press TV – Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) says none of its missiles were intercepted during Wednesday’s heavy strike that targeted two US bases inside Iraq to avenge the United States’ assassination of its senior commander, Lieutenant General Qassem Soleimani.

There have been initial reports of casualties.

Shortly after the strikes, Iranian officials advised US commanders against embarking on any new military action, warning that a more crushing will be awaiting them. They have been urging Us forces to swiftly leave the region.

In a live televised speech on Wednesday, Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei highlighted the need for the US military presence — the source of all corruption in the region — to come to an end.

“A slap was delivered last night, but what is important is that the seditious presence of America in the region should be ended,” Ayatollah Khamenei said on Wednesday.

Also speaking on Wednesday, Armed Forces Chief of Staff Major General Mohammad Baqeri called for the US armed forces to withdraw from the region immediately.

“The time has come for the evil rulers of the United States to withdraw their terrorist army forces as quickly as possible from the region.”

US officials have so far declined to release any information about the damage to their bases or casualties inflicted by the missile strikes.

The White House canceled a formal address to the Americans Tuesday night. Reacting to the attack in a Twitter post, President Donald Trump claimed “All is well.” He said an assessment of casualties and damage from the strikes was underway and that he would make a statement on Wednesday morning.

The reprisal was staged in the early hours of Wednesday, hitting Ain al-Assad Airbase in the western Iraqi province of Anbar and another outpost in Erbil, the capital of Iraq’s semi-autonomous Kurdistan region.

The attacks were launched at 1:20 a.m. local time, the exact moment the US military launched drone strikes on Friday that led to the martyrdom of General Soleimani, the commander of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC)’s Quds Force, and the second-in-command of Iraq’s Popular Mobilization Units (PMU) anti-terror group, Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, among others, in the Iraqi capital, Baghdad.

The missiles were launched shortly before the burial of General Soleimani in his hometown Kerman, which came in the wake of days of enormous funeral processions held in several cities across Iran and neighboring Iraq.

General Soleimani was cooperating with the PMU and the Iraqi government against the most deadly terrorist outfits to ever afflict the region, including the Daesh Takfiri group.

The Islamic Republic has denounced the assassinations as “an act of state terrorism.”

Tehran had vowed vengeance for the blood of its commander, with Ayatollah Khamenei warning of a “harsh revenge” in a speech that followed the assassinations.

‘Iraq must close US Embassy, ban American goods’

Seyyed Mahdi Tabtaei, deputy secretary-general of Asaib Ahl al-Haq, which is a PMU subdivision, told Iraq’s Arabic-language al-Ahd news website that the Americans had thought that by assassinating General Soleimani, the Iranian and Iraqi peoples would forget him, but that they were wrong and that his martyrdom had  served to unify the two nations.

The Iraqi official said, “We will not simply settle for the expulsion of US forces, but also demand sanctions on all American goods and closure of the American Embassy.”

Tabtaei, meanwhile, cited Ayatollah Khamenei as saying, “Our response will be decisive,” adding, “The response will be delivered by the Islamic Republic, resistance groups, and Hashed al-Sha’abi (PMU).”