Iraqi Prime Minister Adil Abd al-Mahdi’s spokesman said on Wednesday Iran had sent him a verbal message about an imminent response to the U.S. killing of its top general before the attack was launched.
Iran’s Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) fired a dozen missiles at Al-Asad (Assad) airbase and a camp near Erbil in Iraqi Kurdistan on Wednesday in retaliation for the U.S. targeted killing of Qods (Quds) Force Commander General Qassem Soleimani last week.
The statement by the Revolutionary Guard issued after the attack was launched, called on Americans to “recall all their soldiers back home to prevent more damage”.
“Shortly after midnight on Wednesday we received a verbal message from the Islamic Republic of Iran that the Iranian response to the assassination of the martyr Qassem Soleimani had started or was about to start,” his spokesman said and added that Iraqi military commanders were immediately warned to take the necessary precautions.
Tehran told the Iraqi Prime Minister that only locations where U.S. forces were present would be targeted without specifying the locations, Adil Abd Al-Mahdi’s spokesman said in his statement.
Al-Asad airbase 160 km (100 miles) west of the Iraqi capital Baghdad and Erbil Camp host U.S. and other coalition troops. According to the Iraqi Prime Minister’s spokesman, there have been no reports of casualties from either the Iraqi military or the U.S.-led coalition.
Abd al-Mahdi received a call from the United States while missiles were falling on the American wing of the airbase in Anbar province and an airbase in Erbil, the spokesman said.
The statement also said Abd Al-Mahdi was in talks with domestic and foreign partners to prevent “open war.”
The Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu is visiting Baghdad later today to discuss the heightened tension in the region with the Iraqi Prime Minister. Contact between the U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo or other top U.S. officials have yet not been reported.
Quoting an “informed source in IRGC Intelligence organization” Iran’s Revolutionary Guards affiliated Fars News Agency has claimed that at least 80 Americans were killed and nearly 200 wounded in the Guards’ missile attack last night. The report does not mention any Iraqi casualties.
The Fars report also claimed that the wounded Americans were immediately evacuated from Al-Asad airbase.
With reporting from Reuters