Ballistic missile attack on US airbases in Iraq

Ballistic missile attack on US airbases in Iraq

Ballistic missile attack on US airbases in Iraq

Written by Staff Writer

08 Jan, 2020 | 9:10 pm

Colombo (News 1st): Iran carried out a ballistic missile attack on airbases housing US forces in Iraq, in retaliation for the US killing of General Qasem Soleimani. More than a dozen missiles launched from Iran struck two air bases in Irbil and Al Asad, west of Baghdad.

President Trump tweeted that all was well and said casualties and damage were being assessed. The attack came just hours after the burial of Soleimani, who controlled Iran’s proxy forces across the Middle East. Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said the US would have its “feet cut off” in the Middle East. But Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said the attack was self-defence and denied seeking to escalate the situation into war.

Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said missile strikes targeting US forces in Iraq were a “slap in the face” for Washington and added that the US should leave the region. The Supreme Leader also warned the US against further attacks: “If you hit, you get hit back.”

Meanwhile, the US Federal Aviation Administration said it would ban US carriers from operating in the airspace over Iraq, Iran, the Gulf of Oman and the waters between Iran and Saudi Arabia. The FAA said it issued the airspace ban “due to heightened military activities and increased political tensions in the Middle East, which present an inadvertent risk to US civil aviation operations”.

Ukraine Boeing-737 crashed in Iran

A Ukrainian Boeing-737 carrying 176 people has crashed in Iran and officials say there is no chance of finding survivors. Ukraine International Airlines flight PS752 to Kyiv went down after taking off from Imam Khomeini airport in Tehran at 8.12 am Sri Lankan time.

Among the victims were 82 Iranians, 63 Canadians, 11 Ukrainians including all nine crew, 10 Swedes, four Afghans, three Britons, and three Germans. Ukraine International Airlines has suspended flights to Tehran indefinitely.

Several Airlines to avoid the airspace of Iran and Iraq

Due to the prevailing unsettled situation in the Persian Gulf region, SriLankan Airlines altered the route of its Colombo – London – Colombo flights to avoid the airspace of Iran and Iraq with immediate effect, as a precautionary measure.

SriLankan Airlines says it is closely monitoring the situation and is in contact with relevant national and international authorities, with the safety of its passengers and crew members being of paramount importance.

The U.S. Embassy in Colombo has warned its citizens in Sri Lanka & Maldives that heightened tension in the Middle East may result in security risks to U.S. citizens abroad. Several foreign airlines in Asia including Singapore Airlines and China Airlines said they would avoid flying over affected areas.

Air France has also suspended flights over Iraq and Iran airspace. Russian Federal Air Transport Agency issued a recommendation to all Russian airlines to avoid using Iranian and Iraqi airspace. Germany’s Lufthansa said it cancelled flights to Tehran and Erbil due to current incidents in Iraq.

India and Pakistan have advised its nationals to avoid all non-essential travel to Iraq until further notice. Canada has also issued a travel warning on Iran and the Iran-Iraq border.

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