How Many American Military Personnel Died In The Vietnam War – Vice President Mike Pence greets troops at Al Asad Air Base, Iraq, Nov. 23, 2019. (AP Photo/Andrew Hornick)
An Iranian regime-run media outlet claimed more than 80 Americans were killed in an Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps missile attack on US troops in Iraq early Wednesday.
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“A source familiar with the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps said an IRGC missile attack on the US airbase Ain al-Asad in western Iraq’s Anbar province killed more than 80 US troops and wounded around 200,” Mehr News reported on Wednesday.
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The US said on Wednesday that damage assessments were still underway, but there were no reports of US casualties from the attack. The Iraqi military also said on Wednesday that no Iraqi soldiers were injured in the attack, which followed the killing on Friday of Quds Force chief Qassem Soleimani, one of the top commanders of the US IRGC.
Mehr, which is owned by the Islamic Ideology Broadcasting Organization, an arm of the Iranian government, credited the report to “IRIB,” or Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting, Iran’s public broadcaster whose head is directly appointed by Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
This Dec. 29, 2019 file photo shows the Ain al-Assad air base taken from a helicopter in western Anbar desert, Iraq. (AP Photo/Nasser Nasser, File)
“According to accurate reports from our sources in the region, at least 80 US troops were killed and around 200 others were injured, who were immediately evacuated from the airbase by helicopters,” the source was quoted as saying, explaining the obvious. Absence of any image of corpses despite the alleged high death toll.
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The source said up to 20 “critical points” at the base were hit by 15 missiles, destroying a “significant number” of US drones and helicopters.
An Iraqi military assessment on Wednesday said 17 missiles were fired at al-Assad, two of which reportedly failed to explode on impact, while five others hit the city of Erbil in the country’s Kurdish-majority northeast.
“Despite the fact that the Americans were on high alert, their air defenses were unable to respond,” the source was quoted as warning by Mehr News, “The Americans’ position in the region has more than 104 critical points. Identified, which will be destroyed in the first mistake of the US.”
An Iranian cleric looks over home-made surface-to-surface missiles at a military event marking the 40th anniversary of Iran’s Islamic Revolution, Feb. 3, 2019, in Tehran, Iran. (AP Photo/Wahid Salemi)
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Shortly after the rocket barrage, US President Donald Trump insisted “everything is fine!” on Twitter, and promised to make a statement to the nation on Wednesday morning about the increasingly uncertain situation with Iran.
Trump offered no immediate indication whether he would retaliate and stayed out of sight after news of the missile strike.
But he tweeted that casualties and damage are being assessed. The initial outlook, he said, “so far, so good!”
Everything is fine! Missiles have been fired from Iran at two military bases in Iraq. Casualty and damage assessment now underway. So far, so good! We have the most powerful and well-equipped army anywhere in the world, by far! I will make a statement tomorrow morning. — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 8, 2020
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Trump said on Tuesday that his decision to kill Soleimani saved American lives and that members of Congress would receive a briefing on the reasons for the US attack.
Mourners holding posters of Iranian General Qassem Soleimani attend a funeral ceremony for him and his comrades killed in a US drone strike in Iraq on Friday, at Nkelab-e-Islami (Islamic Revolution) Square in Tehran, Iran. 6, 2020 (AP Photo/Ibrahim Norouzi)
Hours later, Iran retaliated, firing missiles at US military bases and warning the United States and its allies in the region not to retaliate. The White House said the president was closely monitoring the situation and consulting with his national security team.
So far, Trump and top national security officials have justified the airstrikes with general statements about the threat posed by Soleimani, who commands proxy forces outside Iran and is responsible for the deaths of US troops in Iraq.
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But details are scarce, and Democrats have called for more information to be released about the threat Soleimani poses to U.S. forces.
“He’s not a monster anymore. He’s dead,” Trump said. “And that’s a good thing for many countries. He planned a very big attack and a very bad attack for us and other people and we stopped him and I don’t think anyone can complain about that.
Soleimani was targeted while at Baghdad airport along with Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, a veteran Iraqi Shiite militia leader who was also killed.
Trump said they were not in Baghdad to discuss vacation plans or visit a “nice resort,” but were there to discuss “bad business.”
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Soleimani travels frequently and relatively openly, with visits to Baghdad becoming more frequent in recent months. He was also often seen in Syria, including the border between Iraq and Syria.
Paratroopers assigned to the 1st Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division prepare equipment and load aircraft for operations in the U.S. Central Command area from Fort Bragg, North Carolina, Jan. 4, 2020. (Spc. Hubert Delany III/US Army via AP, file)
Trump insisted the strike was retaliation for Iran’s attack and that the US was ready to strike again – “very hard.” He also said that while he would eventually like to pull US troops out of Iraq, now is not the time because that would allow Iran to gain a bigger foothold there.
After the assassination, Iran announced that it would no longer be bound by the 2015 nuclear deal and vowed to retaliate against the US, its allies and US interests, and to leave “the dead bodies of Americans” across the region. Iraq’s parliament also voted to call for the expulsion of US troops from Iraq, undermining efforts to fight Islamic State jihadists in the region and bolstering Iran’s influence in the Middle East.
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Us Forces Retaliate After Death Of 2 Soldiers In Iraq Rocket Attack
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By registering you agree to the terms and conditions. Once registered, you will receive our daily edition email for free. Army Major General Mark P. Hertling, commander of Multinational Division-North, left, and spokesman Maj. Gen. Kevin Bergner, right, brief reporters on the attack during a news conference Wednesday in Baghdad’s heavily fortified Green Zone. Ali Abbas / AP
Nine American soldiers were killed in the first two days of a new offensive to root out al-Qaeda in Iraq fighters holed up in the capital’s northern districts, the US military said on Wednesday.
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Diyala, a province of palm and citrus groves, has bucked the trend of less violence after many fighters fled US and Iraqi forces. The campaign is nationwide in scope but has focused mainly on controlling Diyala and its most important city, Baquba, which al-Qaeda has declared the capital of its self-styled Islamic caliphate.
The American command said that six soldiers were killed and four were injured in the house where Bubi was trapped in Diyala on Wednesday. It also announced that three US soldiers were killed and two wounded in an attack in Salahuddin province, north of Diyala, on Tuesday.
The toll marked some of the deadliest days for US troops in Iraq since last fall. For all of December, 23 US soldiers were killed in Iraq.
US forces were attacked as the extremists attempted to stay ahead of the military advance. The fighters retreated north from Diyala, possibly as far as Salahuddin, before the offensive began on Tuesday, Maj. Gen. Mark P. Hertling, the top U.S. commander in northern Iraq, told reporters in Baghdad.
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“Operational security is a problem in Iraq,” he said, adding that the Iraqi military uses unsecured cell phones and radios. “I’m sure there’s an active leak of communications.”
Hertling said his forces killed 20 to 30 insurgents in the first two days of the campaign.
Only Baghdad province has been deadlier than Diyala in the past two years, according to an Associated Press count.
And when violence occurs
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