The US Department of Defense confirmed that Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) launched ballistic missiles targeting at least two bases in 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-Asad Air Base (Anbar province) and in Erbil (Kurdistan region). US officials said that damage assessments are currently underway. There are unconfirmed reports of casualties at Ain Al-Asad Air Base but details are still emerging.
Following the initial air strikes, 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 but the reports are unconfirmed. Details are still emerging.
Additional Iranian attacks targeting facilities hosting US forces are possible over the near term; retaliatory US strikes are also possible on Iranian state and proxy targets in the region over the coming days.
The US Department of Defense released a statement on January 3 claiming responsibility for an airstrike targeting and killing Qasem Soleimani, the commander of Iran's Quds Force, near Baghdad International Airport (BGW) the same day. According to the statement, Soleimani was "actively developing plans to attack American diplomats and service members in Iraq and throughout the region." Notably, Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, the deputy commander of Iraq's Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF), was also killed in the strike. The situation remains fluid.
Individuals in Iraq are advised to closely monitor developments, avoid the affected area and related demonstration sites, and adhere to all instructions issued by the local authorities and their home governments.
The security environment in Iraq remains complex. Professional security advice and support should be sought prior to all travel.
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