IRAN’S Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) say none of its missiles were intercepted during Wednesday’s heavy strike that targeted two US bases inside Iraq to avenge the United States’ assassination of its senior commander, Lieutenant General Qassem Soleimani.
The US was given one hour’s notice of the attacks by the Iraqi government which had received a warning from the Iranian leadership.
Shortly after the strikes, Iranian officials advised US commanders against embarking on any new military action, warning that a more crushing response will be awaiting them. They have been urging US forces to swiftly leave the region.
In a live televised speech on Wednesday, Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei highlighted the need for the US military presence – ‘the source of all corruption in the region’ – to come to an end.
‘A slap was delivered last night, but what is important is that the seditious presence of America in the region should be ended,’ Ayatollah Khamenei said.
Also speaking on Wednesday, Armed Forces Chief of Staff Major General Mohammad Baqeri called for the US armed forces to withdraw from the region immediately.
‘The time has come for the evil rulers of the United States to withdraw their terrorist army forces as quickly as possible from the region.’
US officials have so far declined to release any information about the damage to their bases or casualties inflicted by the missile strikes.
The White House cancelled a formal address to the Americans on Tuesday night. Reacting to the attack in a Twitter post, President Donald Trump claimed, ‘All is well.’
He said an assessment of casualties and damage from the strikes was underway and that he would make a statement on Wednesday morning.
The reprisal was staged in the early hours of Wednesday, hitting Ain al-Assad Airbase in the western Iraqi province of Anbar and another outpost in Irbil, the capital of Iraq’s semi-autonomous Kurdistan region.
The attacks were launched at 1:20am local time, the exact moment the US military launched drone strikes on Friday that led to the martyrdom of General Soleimani, the commander of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC)’s Quds Force, and the second-in-command of Iraq’s Popular Mobilisation Units (PMU) anti-terror group, Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, among others, in the Iraqi capital, Baghdad.
The missiles were launched shortly before the burial of General Soleimani in his hometown Kerman, which came in the wake of days of enormous funeral processions held in several cities across Iran and neighbouring Iraq.
The Islamic Republic has denounced the assassinations as ‘an act of state terrorism’.
The IRGC’s Deputy Commander for Operations Brigadier General Abbas Nilforoushan, meanwhile, has confirmed that Iran’s missiles ‘precisely hit their intended targets’.
According to the official, the US completely failed to intercept the missiles fired by the Corps.
They failed to even slightly divert the Corps’ ballistic missiles, he told Tasnim News Agency on Wednesday. ‘Not even by a few metres,’ he said.
The IRGC managed to ‘destroy the arrogance’s command centre in the region’, he noted.
Nilforoushan further warned that any potential act of mischief by the enemy would be met with a ‘staggering, painful, crushing, and regret-inducing response.’