Iran gave Iraq tip-off before missile attack

Baghdad: Iraq's prime minister's office said Wednesday it had received "an official verbal message" from Iran informing it that a missile attack on US forces stationed on Iraqi soil was imminent.

Iran launched 22 missiles at Iraqi bases housing US and other coalition troops early Wednesday in response to the killing of senior Revolution Guards commander Qasem Soleimani in a US drone strike in Baghdad last week.

In its first statement hours later, premier Adel Abdel Mahdi's office said it had been warned.

"We received an official verbal message from the Islamic Republic of Iran that the Iranian response to the assassination of Qasem Soleimani had begun or would begin shortly, and that the strike would be limited to where the US military was located in Iraq without specifying the locations," it said.

The prime minister's office said it was simultaneously contacted by the US, as the missiles slammed into the Ain al-Asad base in western Iraq and Harir further north.

"We immediately warned Iraqi military commanders to take the necessary precautions," it said, adding that no Iraqi forces had been hurt in the attack.

"Iraq rejects any violation of its sovereignty and attacks on its territory," the premier's office added, without specifically condemning the missile strikes.

It said Abdel Mahdi was in talks with domestic and foreign partners to prevent an "open war." Secretary of State Mike Pompeo earlier said he had spoken to Masrour Barzani, the prime minister of the autonomous Kurdish region in northern Iraq.

But it remained unclear if there was any contact between Pompeo or any other top US official and Abdel Mahdi.

WORLD-WIDE TWITTER REACTIONS

"Anyone who attacks us will receive a resounding blow." -Israel PM Benjamin Netanyahu

"Iran should not repeat these reckless and dangerous attacks but should instead pursue urgent de-escalation." -Britain PM Boris Johnson

"France remains determined to work to ease tensions and is in contact with all the parties to encourage restraint and responsibility." -French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian

"Our Country rejects this attack in the sharpest possible terms". -German Defence Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer

"The United States have taken the action that they have to address what has been intelligence that they say they received, which was putting their interests at risk and under threat." -Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison

"Those who were in riskier positions have left for Kuwait," Calvo told state broadcaster RTVE. "There is only a reduced number left there." -Spain's acting Deputy PM Carmen Calvo

"De-escalation is both wise and necessary. A political path towards stability must follow." -UAE Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Anwar Gargash

"All is well! 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." -US President Donald Trump

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