Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has defended missile attack on US airbases in Iraq by calling it a "legitimate self-defence". Zarif told state TV that Iran's action was a legitimate self-defence and that Washington should avoid assessing it based on illusions. Iran on Wednesday fired more than a dozen missiles on two Iraqi military bases hosting troops from the United States and other NATO countries. The missile attacks on the US-led forces came after Washington killed top Iranian military commander Qassem Soleimani on January 3.
Washington reportedly said that Qassem Soleimani had single-handedly planned some of the deadliest attacks on US assets in the Middle East. United States has also blamed Soleimani for the recent attacks on the US embassy in Iraq, following which the Trump administration had to deploy more troops in Kuwait. The missile attacks by Tehran have further escalated tensions between the United States and Iran.
After the missile attacks, Iraq issued a statement where it said that the country was subjected to bombardment by 22 missiles; 17 fell on Ain al-Asad airbase, hosting US troops, while five on the city of Erbil that all fell on coalition headquarters. The attacks took place between 1:45am and 2:45am on January 8, 2020. The statement further read that no casualties among Iraqi forces were recorded.
European Union has condemned the attack and has called for an immediate end to the use of weapons in the region, urging efforts to restart dialogue. European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen told media before leaving for London that she is going to discuss the issue with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson. German Defence Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer has urged Iran to not engage in further escalation. Annegret confirmed that no German troops were injured during the attack. UK Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab condemned that attacks on bases hosting US-led coalition troops, including British personnel.