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Iran claims 80 'American terrorists' killed in ballistic strike despite reports of no casualties

Iraqi security forces inspect the wreckage of Iranian missiles following Tuesday night's strike [Getty]

Date of publication: 8 January, 2020

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Despite US and Iraqi reports of no casualties among their ranks, Iran claims its strike on coalition air bases killed 80 American soldiers.

Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) claimed on Wednesday that missile strikes on coalition bases in Iraq killed 80 American soldiers, in a report broadcast on state media.

Iran launched 22 missiles overnight at the Iraqi bases used by US and other US-led coalition troops, according to an Iraqi statement.

However both US and Iraqi sources have confirmed there have been no casualties among their ranks in their initial assessments.

"At least 80 American military (personnel) were killed in this attack," Iran’s state television website reported.

In addition, it said, unmanned aerial vehicles, helicopters and other military equipment had been severely damaged in the attack.

In-depth: The significance of Qasem Soleimani's assassination

The Revolutionary Guards source said at least 140 targets of the US and their allies had been identified in the region and would be attacked "if the Americans commit any kind of mistake again".

The source said 15 missiles hit Ain Al-Assad base and none was intercepted by "radars of America's terrorist army".


'So far, so good!'

A US official told CNN that there had not been any initial reports of US casualties from the strikes, and that an investigation into their impact was ongoing.

President Donald Trump took to Twitter on Tuesday night following the strike to say an "assessment of casualties & damages taking place now".

"So far, so good!" he wrote, referring to the absence of casualties

“We have the most powerful and well equipped military anywhere in the world, by far! I will be making a statement tomorrow morning."

The US military reportedly received advance warnings of the attacks and could evacuate people from areas of concern, a US military official told CNN

A preliminary assessment indicated that the missiles hit parts of Al-Assad base that were not housing US troops, according to a US military official and a senior administration official.

'No victims among the Iraqi forces'

A statement made by the military in Baghdad on Wednesday made no mention of Iran or its casualty claims.

"Between 1:45 am and 2:15 am (2245 GMT and 2315 GMT) Iraq was hit by 22 missiles, 17 on the Ain al-Asad air base and ... five on the city of Erbil," the Iraqi military said.

"There were no victims among the Iraqi forces," it added, but did not mention whether or not there were casualties among foreign troops. 

Ain al-Asad is the largest airbase where US-led coalition troops are based.

Erbil is the capital of the Kurdish region, and a top official from the regional government said no American military base or US consulate was hit there.

The official also said there were no casualties in Erbil. 

Wednesday morning's strikes marked the first time Iran has directly targeted a US installation with ballistic missiles.

Over the last two months, US troops and even the embassy in Baghdad has been targeted in more than a dozen rocket attacks that Washington has blamed on pro-Tehran groups, but none had been claimed. 

The strikes were the first action of Iran's promised revenge for the US killing of top Iranian general Qasem Soleimani in Iraq last week.

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