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5 Things to Know: Iran’s Supreme Leader Calls Missile Attack a ‘Slap’ to America, Trump Speaks to Casualties

Fears of an all-out war are at the front of everyone’s minds following the U.S. airstrike that killed top Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani late last week. U.S. officials accused Soleimani of “actively developing plans to attack American diplomats and U.S. service members in Iraq and throughout the region,” however, the Trump-ordered hit has been met with fierce opposition.

The assault has only heightened tensions in the Middle East, with Iran promising “harsh retaliation” against the U.S.

Here’s what’s unfolded in the past 24 hours.

U.S. Airstrike Kills Gen. Qassem Soleimani of Iran
President Donald Trump (right) defended the killing of Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani (left), saying the senior military leader “should’ve been taken out a long time ago!” (Photos:
Anadolu Agency/Getty Images, Nicholas Kamm/Getty Images)

Iran Fires on Iraqi Bases Hosting U.S. Troops
The Middle Eastern country made good on its promise of retaliation Tuesday night when it fired more than a dozen ballistic missiles at two Iraqi military bases housing U.S. troops and coalition forces. Al-Jazeera reports the missiles were fired at the Ain al-Asad air base in Iraq’s Anbar province and a base in Erbil, the country’s Kurdish region.

The Pentagon has confirmed the attacks, and U.S. officials were reportedly given advance notice of the missile assault thanks to early warning systems.

Iran’s Supreme Leader Calls Missile Strike a ‘Slap On the Face’ to U.S.
Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei addressed the strikes against U.S. forces Wednesday, saying his nation had “slapped” America “on the face” with the assault on two military bases that host American personnel in neighboring Iraq.

In a televised address from the Iranian capital of Tehran, Khamenei argued that “military action is not enough” to thwart what he called the “corrupt presence of the U.S. in the region.” Iranian officials have said they “do not seek escalation or war,” but will launch a second wave of attacks should the U.S. dare to retaliate.

Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) has taken responsibility for Wednesday’s missile strike and warned “the arrogant American regime, that any new invasions and aggression will result in more painful and pounding responses.”

No Casualties Confirmed so Far
So far, no casualties have been confirmed despite Iranian state television’s claims than an estimated 80 “American terrorists” were killed in the missile assault in Iraq.

In a live address to the nation late Wednesday morning, President Donald Trump reiterated that no U.S. soldiers were harmed in Iran’s retaliatory strikes.

Trump Addresses Nation After Missile Assault
President Trump made a statement about the Iran crisis from the White House around 11:30 a.m. EST on Wednesday, announcing additional unspecified sanctions to be levied against Iran, but no new military action.

The president tweeted shortly after news of the missile launch late Tuesday, writing: “All is well! 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.”

No Survivors After Boeing 737 Passenger Plane Crashes in Iran
All 176 people aboard a Ukraine-bound flight perished early Wednesday morning when the plane crashed shortly after takeoff in Tehran, Iran. The state news agency IRNA said 167 passengers and nine crew members were on board the aircraft when it suddenly went down. 

In a statement, Boeing addressed the “tragic event” and said, “[Our] heartfelt thoughts are with the crew, passengers, and their families. We are in contact with our airline customers and stand by them in this difficult time.”

A cause for the crash hasn’t been determined.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates.

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