Iran has fired more than a dozen ballistic missiles against US military targets in Iraq. The goals would be the North American bases of Al-Assad and Erbil, according to Fox News.
The missiles used in the attack would be short range
Stephanie Grisham, White House press secretary, has communicated at 0:49 (UTC + 1, Spanish peninsular time): "We are aware of the reports of attacks on US facilities in Iraq. The President has been briefed and is monitoring the situation closely and consulting with his national security team." The Daily Wire has posted this video of the missiles launched, noting that what US military media have declared to reporter Jennifer Griffin of Fox News: "Under missile attack from Iran. These are either cruise missiles or short range ballistic missiles. All over the country." The image that tops these lines comes from Google Maps and shows the Al-Assad base, which would be one of the US targets attacked by Iran. This base is located in western Iraq, halfway between Baghdad and Syria.
An escalation that began with the assault on the US Embassy in Baghdad
On December 31, members of the terrorist group Kataeb Hezbollah, backed by Iran, stormed the US Embassy in Baghdad. In the assault a US citizen was killed. US President Donald Trump blamed Iran for the attack: "Iran killed an American contractor, wounding many. We strongly responded, and always will. Now Iran is orchestrating an attack on the U.S. Embassy in Iraq. They will be held fully responsible. In addition, we expect Iraq to use its forces to protect the Embassy, and so notified!"
The elimination of General Soleimani, a terrorist linked to the Kataeb Hezbollah
In retaliation for that attack, on January 3, a href="https://www.elmundo.es/internacional/2020/01/03/5e0e7faefdddfff5b48b45eb.html" rel="noopener" target="_blank">US military forces killed Iranian General Qasem Soleimani in Baghdad through a drone attack. The same attack also killed Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, leader of the Kataeb Hezbollah, the terrorist group responsible for the aforementioned attack against the US Embassy in Baghdad.
Soleimani is on the list of terrorists in the European Union with the number 15. The US included him on his list of terrorists in 2011. The US Embassy in Spain said about Soleimani: "He caused the deaths of thousands of people and spent decades exporting terrorism and leading the IRGC terrorists who attacked and killed more than 600 Americans".
The attacked bases were already on high alert following Iranian threats to the US
Según ha señalado el Pentágono a Fox News, "en los últimos días y en respuesta a las amenazas y acciones iraníes, el Departamento de Defensa ha tomado todas las medidas apropiadas para salvaguardar a nuestro personal y socios. Estas bases han estado en alerta máxima debido a las indicaciones de que el régimen iraní planeaba atacar nuestras fuerzas e intereses en la región. A medida que evaluamos la situación y nuestra respuesta, tomaremos todas las medidas necesarias para proteger y defender al personal, socios y aliados de los Estados Unidos en la región".
The US already has a naval group and B-52 bombers in the area
Fox News notes that US intelligence estimates that Iran has more than 2,000 ballistic missiles. The US response could be immediate, since according to USNI News, the USS Harry Truman carrier attack group is in the area. Fox News indicates that this attack group includes guided-missile destroyers, a guided-missile cruiser and at least one submarine, ships that have hundreds of Tomahawk cruise missiles "with pre-planned targets locked into the missiles." To that it should be added, as published by The Aviationist yesterday, that the USAF would be deploying six B-52 bombers from Barksdale AFB, Louisiana, to the Diego Garcia Base, in the Indian Ocean, located on a British island that already served as a platform for the US attacks on Afghanistan and Iraq.
The current state of the Spanish military contingent deployed in Iraq
Spain has about 500 military in Iraq, most of them deployed in the 'Gran Capitán' Base of Besmayah. The current rotation consists mainly of members of the 'Canarias' XVI Brigade of the Spanish Army. Their mission is to train the Iraqi Army in the fight against ISIS terrorists. Due to the escalation of tension in the area, NATO decided to withdraw part of its personnel deployed in that country. As Abc reported yesterday, only 3 of the 13 Spanish soldiers who were deployed there remain in the Union III Base in Baghdad, while in Besmayah the situation "is completely normal."
The links of one of the partners of the new Spanish Government with Iran
The most alarming thing is that this conflict takes Spain in full formation of a new government with a partner, the Podemos party, whose leader, Pablo Iglesias, has ties to the Iranian dictatorship. In fact, a year before he founded his party, Iglesias acknowledged that he had been used by Iran to destabilize Spain (the statements are in a video). These links openly clash with Spain's role in NATO and with our status as US allies. It remains to be seen how Pedro Sánchez deals with this.
+ UPDATED 3:24h
The US Federal Aviation Administration has just issued a notice to airmen (NOTAM) warning of "flight restrictions that prohibit U.S. civil aviation operators from operating in the airspace over Iraq, Iran, and the waters of the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman."
+ UPDATED 3:29h
Lucas Tomlinson, a Fox News reporter who covers the news about the Pentagon, says: "No U.S. casualties in Iraq after missile strike from Iran, , but assessment still ongoing."
+ UPDATED 3:33h
Blesa Shaways, a Kurdistan24 correspondent, has published images of the remains of one of the missiles launched by Iran against the US base in Erbil, in Iraqi Kurdistan:
+ UPDATED 4:45h
Donald Trump statement: "All is well! Missiles launched from Iran at two military bases located in Iraq. 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! I will be making a statement tomorrow morning."
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