President Donald Trump spoke Wednesday to confirm no U.S. military personnel were killed at the two U.S. bases in Iraq that were targeted by Iranian ballistic missiles Tuesday night.
“No Americans were harmed in last night’s attack by the Iranian regime,” Trump announced. “We suffered no casualties, all of our soldiers are safe, and only minimal damage was sustained at our military base.”
Trump went on to credit U.S. missile warning systems and other precautions for helping to prevent casualties.
“No American or Iraqi lives were lost because of the precautions taken, the dispersal of forces, and an early warning system that worked very well,” he said.
For days Iran had warned of its plans to seek ‘severe revenge’ for the U.S. airstrike that killed Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani.
The news of no U.S. deaths comes in contrast to claims by Iranian military officials that it had inflicted dozens of casualties on its U.S. targets after it fired as many as 15 ballistic missiles.
One claim by Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corp (IRGC) intelligence department, which circulated through Iran’s Fars news agency, said that “at least 80 U.S. Army personnel have been killed and around 200 others wounded.”
Iran also claimed its 15 missiles damaged 20 “sensitive points” around the base, “resulting in the destruction of a considerable number of drones and helicopters.” The latest damage assessment from Trump suggests that damage is more limited than Iran’s military had claimed.
Early reports indicated 4 of Iran’s 15 missiles missed their targets at U.S. bases in at Al-Assad and Irbil, Iraq.
Iran warned it would cause “more painful and cruel responses” if the U.S. launched a counter strike, though Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif indicated Iran believes the missile strikes were only a proportionate response to the killing of Soleimani and suggested no further escalation.
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
“We do not seek escalation or war, but will defend ourselves against any aggression,” Zarif said.