Iran struck back at the United States early on Wednesday for killing its most powerful military commander, firing a barrage of ballistic missiles at two Iraqi military bases that house American troops in what the Iranian supreme leader said was a “slap” against America’s military presence in the region.
The retaliation is another dangerous escalation that could draw the region deeper into turmoil, despite insistence by Washington and Tehran that neither side wants war. U.S. and Iraqi officials said there were no casualties among their forces.
Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei made clear that Iran’s missile strikes were in revenge for the U.S. killing of Revolutionary Guard Gen. Qassem Soleimani, whose death last week in an American drone strike in Baghdad prompted angry calls for vengeance and drew massive crowds of Iranians, said to number in the millions, to the streets to mourn him. Khamenei himself wept at the funeral in a sign of his bond with the commander.