Over a dozen missiles hit the Ain Al-Assad Air Base
The US Department of Defense confirmed that Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) launched ballistic missiles targeting a base in Anbar province, Iraq hosting US military personnel at approximately 01:30 (local time) on Wednesday, January 8. Initial reports indicate that over a dozen missiles hit the Ain Al-Assad Air Base and also possibly the military area of Erbil International Airport to the northwest of Erbil city in the Kurdistan region. Reports also suggest explosions were heard IVO the US Consulate in Erbil although this remains uncorroborated and unconfirmed at this time.
"Tens" of surface-to-surface missiles fired at the base as revenge
Following the initial airstrikes, Iranian state TV claimed Tehran fired "tens" of surface-to-surface missiles at the base as revenge for the January 3 killing of Iranian Major General Qasem Soleimani. Iranian media sources also later claimed that a second round of missiles has been fired at Erbil International Airport but reports are currently not verified. The Federal Aviation Administration is also reported to have barred U.S. pilots and carriers from flying in areas of Iraqi, Iranian and some Persian Gulf airspace. The agency warned of the “potential for miscalculation or misidentification” for civilian aircraft amid heightened tensions between the U.S. and Iran.
Tensions between the US and Iran raised to unprecedented levels
This latest development raises tensions between the US and Iran to unprecedented levels. President Trump is due to issue a statement within the next hour, although it remains to be seen what reaction this Iranian provocation will elicit from the US. The potential for further Iranian strikes within Iraq, and or a significant military retaliation against Iranian assets within Iran remains extant.
GardaWorld has a dedicated Risk Analysis team in Iraq keeping our clients updated on developments. Get in touch with James Bentley, our Regional Director, Iraq to get access to the latest insights.