Iran launched a rocket attacks on U.S.-led forces in Iraq in the early hours of Wednesday in retaliation for the U.S. drone strike on an Iranian commander whose killing has raised fears of a wider war in the Middle East.
It was not immediately clear if any U.S. service members were hurt in the strikes. The White House decided against a formal address to the nation Tuesday night.
U.S. stock futures plunged on Tuesday night following the news. Dow Jones Industrial Average futures dropped 343 points and indicated a loss of 365 points at Wednesday’s open. S&P 500 and Nasdaq 100 futures pointed to losses of at least 1.3%. Dow futures briefly fell more than 400 points earlier. Oil prices surged more than 4% at their high in early trading on Tuesday night.
President Donald Trump responded to Tuesday night’s attacks on Twitter: “All is well!” he said. “Missiles launched from Iran at two military bases located in Iraq. Assessment of casualties & damages taking place now. So far, so good! We have the most powerful and well equipped military anywhere in the world, by far! I will be making a statement tomorrow morning.”
Following reports of the attacks, White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham said Trump “has been briefed and is monitoring the situation closely and consulting with his national security team.” Vice President Mike Pence, Secretary of Defense Mark Esper and Army Gen. Mark Milley were at the White House on Tuesday night.
Trump previously visited one of the bases that came under attack on Tuesday.
ranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif tweeted after the attack that “we do not seek escalation or war, but will defend ourselves against any aggression.”
“Iran took & concluded proportionate measures in self-defense under Article 51 of UN Charter targeting base from which cowardly armed attack against our citizens & senior officials were launched. We do not seek escalation or war, but will defend ourselves against any aggression,” Zarif tweeted.
Pence briefed House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on the attacks by phone Tuesday evening, the speaker’s spokesman Drew Hammill said.
In a tweet, Pelosi said she was “closely monitoring the situation.”
“We must ensure the safety of our servicemembers, including ending needless provocations from the Administration and demanding that Iran cease its violence. America & world cannot afford war,” she said.
Former Vice President Joe Biden said he would hold off commenting on Tuesday’s attacks until he has more information, but added: “Jill and I are keeping our troops and Americans overseas in our prayers. We hope you’ll keep them in yours.”
Assistant to the Secretary of Defense for Public Affairs Jonathan Hoffman released the following statement after the attacks:
“At approximately 5:30 p.m. (EST) on January 7, Iran launched more than a dozen ballistic missiles against U.S. military and coalition forces in Iraq. It is clear that these missiles were launched from Iran and targeted at least two Iraqi military bases hosting U.S. military and coalition personnel at Al-Assad and Irbil. We are working on initial battle damage assessments.”
Hours before the missile attacks, Esper said the U.S. was not seeking a war with Iran.
“We are not looking to start a war with Iran, but we are prepared to finish one,” Esper said, adding that Washington wants to see the situation de-escalate.