Iran fired a series of ballistic missiles that hit two air bases used by United States troops in Iraq early morning local time Wednesday, in what appeared to be the first retaliatory strikes by Tehran for the killing of one of its top generals.
“At approximately 5:30 p.m. (EST) on January 7, Iran launched more than a dozen ballistic missiles against U.S. military and coalition forces in Iraq… and targeted at least two Iraqi military bases hosting U.S. military and coalition personnel at Al-Assad and Irbil,” Assistant to the Secretary of Defense for Public Affairs Jonathan Hoffman said in a statement.
Last week, at the orders of President Donald Trump, the US killed the commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps’ elite Quds Force, Qasem Soleimani, in a targeted airstrike in Baghdad. Iran vowed “harsh revenge.”
The IRGC confirmed Wednesday that it launched “tens of surface-to-surface ballistic missiles” in the name of Soleimani.
“We warn the Great Satan, the bloodthirsty and arrogant regime of the US, that any new wicked act or more moves and aggressions (against Iran) will bring about more painful and crushing responses,” the IRGC said in a statement carried by Iranian state media, which added that the IRGC urged for the recall of US forces from the region to avoid further loss of US life.
Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif later said the attack was in self-defense.
“Iran took & concluded proportionate measures in self-defense under Article 51 of UN Charter targeting base from which cowardly armed attack against our citizens & senior officials were launched,” he said on Twitter.
“We do not seek escalation or war, but will defend ourselves against any aggression,” he added.
Trump, who according to White House correspondents was seen meeting with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Defense Secretary Mark Esper after news of the attack, later issued a tweet saying “All is well!”
“Assessment of casualties & damages taking place now. So far, so good! We have the most powerful and well equipped military anywhere in the world, by far!” he said, adding that he would make a statement in the morning.
A police source in the province of Al Anbar and another source in the Iraqi Army confirmed to EFE that at least 13 missiles hit the Al Asad military base.
The police source said several missiles were launched against that base located in the area of Al Bagdadi, west of the provincial capital Ramadi, but the damage caused by the impact was unknown.
The Iraqi Army source said that 13 missiles hit Al Asad and explosions were heard within the perimeter of the base, but could not confirm any casualties.
The Pentagon had said that “in recent days and in response to Iranian threats and actions, the Department of Defense has taken all appropriate measures to safeguard our personnel and partners.”
“These bases have been on high alert due to indications that the Iranian regime planned to attack our forces and interests in the region,” Hoffman added.
House Speaker and Democrat Nancy Pelosi said she was “closely monitoring the situation.”
“We must ensure the safety of our service members, including ending needless provocations from the Administration and demanding that Iran cease its violence. America & world cannot afford war,” she added. EFE-EPA
MANILA, Philippines – The government of the United States on Thursday donated hygiene kits and handwashing stations to the city government of Manila in support of the Philippine capital’s fight against the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.
In a statement, US Ambassador Sung Kim said he visited the Delpan Quarantine Facility in Tondo to handover 5,000 hygiene kits and 16 handwashing stations to Manila Mayor Francisco “Isko Moreno” Domagoso.
Kim said the hygiene kits could provide additional protection against COVID-19 through the provision of items essential to practicing good personal hygiene.
The kits contain face masks, soap, laundry detergent, dishwashing liquid, and toothbrushes.
“The U.S. government is a friend, partner, and ally of the Manileños in facing this pandemic. The American people are pleased to support the City of Manila’s efforts to fight COVID-19,” Kim said.
To complement the donation, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) said it will continue to collaborate with the Manila City Health Office to help ensure that citizens can access quality tuberculosis services during the pandemic as well as to support the rollout of the Department of Health’s “Coordinated Operations to Defeat Epidemic (CODE)” strategy to contain the pandemic.
USAID recently donated two ventilators to the Tondo Medical Center as part of the 100 ventilators that the U.S. government handed over last August 28 to the Philippine government.
To date, the U.S. government has donated over P1 billion ($22.6 million) to support the Philippines’ COVID-19 response.
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Thursday (July 30) the “tide is turning” in U.S. dealings with China, saying there is international support for American policies, including the step-up of maritime maneuvers in the South China Sea.
Reflecting rising tensions between Washington and Beijing, Pompeo took a tough line on China in testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
“We see the Chinese Communist Party for what it is: the center threat of our times,” Pompeo said.
In recent days, Washington and Beijing have each closed one of the other country’s consulates – the United States closing China’s office in Houston and China retaliating by shuttering the U.S. facility in Chengdu – and Pompeo recently announced an end to Hong Kong’s special trading status.
“We closed the consulate in Houston because it was a den of spies,” Pompeo said.
Pompeo was testifying publicly at Foreign Relations Committee hearing for the first time in 15 months, discussing the State Department’s annual budget request.
President Donald Trump’s administration has tried to slash the State Department budget since it took office, which has been rejected by Congress every year. Democratic lawmakers told the hearing that they would not support steep cuts this year either. (Reuters)
Chinese Foreign Ministry on Friday informed the U.S. Embassy in China of its decision to withdraw its consent for the establishment and operation of the U.S. Consulate General in Chengdu.
The ministry also made specific requirements on the ceasing of all operations and events by the Consulate General, said a statement issued by the ministry.
On July 21, the United States launched a unilateral provocation by abruptly demanding that China close its Consulate General in Houston, the statement said.
The U.S. move seriously breached international law, the basic norms of international relations, and the terms of the China-U.S. Consular Convention. It gravely harmed China-U.S. relations, said the statement.
The measure taken by China is a legitimate and necessary response to the unjustified act by the United States. It conforms with international law, the basic norms of international relations, and customary diplomatic practices, said the statement.
The statement said the current situation in China-U.S. relations is not what China desires to see, and the United States is responsible for all this.
“We once again urge the United States to immediately retract its wrong decision and create necessary conditions for bringing the bilateral relationship back on track,” the statement added. (Reuters)
UNTV is a major TV broadcast network with 24-hour programming. An Ultra High Frequency station with strong brand content that appeal to everyone, UNTV is one of the most trusted and successful Philippine networks that guarantees wholesome and quality viewing experience.