Iran claims 80 American troops killed; US says no casualties

Jan 09, 2020, 09:30 am

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US President Donald Trump convened an emergency meeting at the White House on Tuesday night to plot their response to the Iranian missile attacks. The image shows all the lights on in the winds of the West Wing of the White House after news of a missile attack on the Iraqi air base housing US troops in Washington on Tuesday./ Source: Washington D.C. AP=Yonhap News

By Washington correspondent Ha Man-joo 

The Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), an elite wing of the Iranian military, fired dozens of missiles at two Iraqi bases housing U.S. troops at 1:30 AM on January 8. 

IRGC announced that “Operation Martyr Soleimani” was launched in retaliation against the US act of assassination of IRGC Quds Force Commander Lt. Gen. Qassem Soleimani. The attack happened at roughly the same time the US launched a drone strike in Iraq that killed the top Iranian military commander four days earlier.

US President Donald Trump convened an emergency meeting at the White House on Tuesday night to plot their response to the Iranian missile attacks. 

Cheong Wa Dae paid close attention to the safety of South Korean nationals in the region and the impact on the economy, taking real-time reports and closely monitoring the current situations. “The biggest concern is the safety of South Korean nationals and the impact on the economy,” Cheong Wa Dae spokesperson Ko Min-jung said in a statement. 

“The government is in close consultations with local authorities with a top priority on the security and safety of South Korean nationals,” Ko said. “The government has already taken lots of measures, and we are ready to cope with whatever situations occur.”

On the same day, high-ranking officials of related ministries, including the Ministries of Foreign Affairs and Defense, gathered separately to discuss measures. Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha held an emergency video conference with the South Korean ambassadors to Iran, Iraq and other Middle Eastern countries, and instructed them to take active measures to ensure the safety of South Koreans in the region. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs will hold a video conference in Amman, Jordan, on Wednesday to discuss ways to ensure the safety of South Korean nationals.

The Defense Ministry held an emergency meeting presided over Defense Minister Jeong Gyeong-doo and discussed ways to ensure the safety of its troops and citizens in the region.

Trump is likely to take military retaliation, as the US has warned that it will fight back immediately if Iran attempts to retaliate for the killing of Iran’s top military commander Qassem Soleimani. 

If Iran decides to start blocking the main oil channel, the Strait of Hormuz or attacking oil facilities of other Middle East nations of the US allies, it may lead to a surge in international oil prices, affecting the domestic oil and chemicals industry. The Middle East is a key region for South Korea, as it imports 70 percent of oil from the continent.

Pentagon’s chief spokesman Jonathan Hoffman said the missiles were clearly launched from Iran and targeted at least two Iraqi military bases hosting US military and coalition personnel at Al-Assad and Irbil, according to Reuters. 

There are conflicting reports about number of casualties. A US official told CNN that there were no initial reports of any US casualties from the attack.

On the other hand, Iranian state television claimed at least 80 American terrorists were killed and that US military equipment, including choppers, was badly damaged. 

#Iran #US #Donald Trump 
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