Iran Fires Rockets On Airbase In Iraq Housing U.S. Troops

Jan 7, 2020
Originally published on January 7, 2020 10:19 pm

ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

The U.S. Department of Defense says Iran has launched more than a dozen ballistic missiles against American military forces in Iraq. This attack against U.S. forces comes after Iranian leaders vowed to retaliate for the killing of an Iranian general, Qassem Soleimani. NPR White House correspondent Franco Ordoñez joins us here in the studio.

And, Franco, what else do we know about these attacks tonight?

FRANCO ORDOÑEZ, BYLINE: Well, we know that the Pentagon says it is clear that the missiles were launched from Iran. U.S. officials say they targeted at least two Iraqi military bases hosting U.S. military and coalition forces. The Iranian Revolutionary Guard is taking credit for the attack, saying this is harsh revenge for the Soleimani killing. And they warned an even harsher response if the United States took further action. I'll just note that the U.S. has been preparing for some type of retaliation.

SHAPIRO: And what has the administration said tonight - anything?

ORDOÑEZ: Well, the White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham says that the president has been briefed and is closely monitoring the situation, as well as consulting with his national security team. We know that Defense Secretary Mike Esper, as well as Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, were at the White House tonight. I'll also just add that the vice president, Mike Pence, also briefed House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on the missile attacks. Representative Hakeem Jeffries of New York - he spoke with NPR's Claudia Grisales and said that members are still trying to gather information, trying to figure out the well-being of U.S. soldiers and any Americans there.

SHAPIRO: I know many people are concerned about casualties. And at this point, we don't have information about whether any Americans or Iraqis have been harmed. As you said, American officials have been very aware of the potential for Iran to strike back and said that the U.S. would retaliate. What are you expecting?

ORDOÑEZ: Yeah. Earlier today, in fact, President Trump said the U.S. military is prepared to retaliate if Iran strikes back.

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PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: If Iran does anything that they shouldn't be doing, they're going to be suffering the consequences - and very strongly.

ORDOÑEZ: We still have a lot to report on. We have colleagues in - at the Pentagon and in Baghdad, and they're doing those things right now.

SHAPIRO: And in Tehran.

ORDOÑEZ: And in Tehran - I'll note that the president was clear. Earlier this week, he warned of a disproportionate military response if - to Iran if it carries out a retaliatory strike against the U.S.

SHAPIRO: That's White House correspondent Franco Ordoñez with the latest on this breaking story.

Thank you, Franco.

ORDOÑEZ: Thank you. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.