Iran launched more than a dozen ballistic missiles against U.S. military and coalition forces in Iraq, according to a US Pentagon statement by Jonathan Hoffman, Assistant to the Secretary of Defense for Public Affairs.
It happened just hours after the funeral for Iranian Major-General Qassem Soleimani, who was killed in a US drone strike ordered by US president Donald Trump last week. The killing raised fears a war will erupt in the already tense area of the Middle East.
Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps said the missiles were fired in retaliation for the Soleimani killing.
"It is clear that these missiles were launched from Iran and targeted at least two Iraqi military bases hosting U.S. military and coalition personnel at Al-Assad and Irbil," said Hoffman.
He said they would "take all necessary measures to protect and defend U.S. personnel, partners, and allies in the region."
New Zealand's Defence Minister Ron Mark told Radio NZ he is not considering withdrawing troops from Iraq early, but he made this statement shortly before the news of the missile attack.
Tehran has threatened "more crushing responses" if the US retaliates for the rocket attacks, according to Al Jazeera.
The White House is preparing for a possible address by the President as Iran threatens to attack inside America if the US responds to missile attacks https://t.co/uD7yRleMYW pic.twitter.com/8PPcLRrFD4— CNN Breaking News (@cnnbrk) January 8, 2020
Attacks have been carried out before on airbases hosting US forces, most recently on December 27 2019 when a a rocket attack killed a U.S. civilian contractor at the K-1 Air Base in Kirkuk province in Iraq.