IRGC commander: Our aim was not to kill US soldiers

Hossein Salami claims killing US troops in missile attack on Iraqi bases "was not important".

Elad Benari,

Hossein Salami
Hossein Salami
Reuters

The commander of Iran's Revolutionary Guards, Hossein Salami, said on Sunday that the Guards did not aim to kill US troops when firing a wave of missiles last week at Iraqi bases hosting American forces, AFP reports.

"Our aim was not really to kill enemy soldiers. That was not important," Salami told Parliament, referring to Wednesday's missile operation launched to avenge the killing of top Iranian General Qassem Soleimani.

"The physical destruction (caused by the missiles) was just because we wanted to say that we are so much more superior to the enemy (and) that we can hit any point we choose," he added in a speech aired on state television.

The US said no American personnel were harmed when Iran launched a wave of ballistic missiles at bases in Iraq hosting American and other foreign troops last Tuesday night.

Hours after launching the missiles on Wednesday, Iran shot down a Ukrainian passenger plane soon after it took off from Tehran, killing all 176 people aboard.

Iran initially denied having anything to do with the crash, but US officials said early on that the plane had been shot down by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps.

On Saturday, Iran finally admitted that it had made a mistake and shot the Ukrainian plane after it flew too close to a sensitive military site and failed to respond to signals.

Salami was briefing the Iranian Parliament about the incidents in a closed session on Sunday after being ordered to testify by President Hassan Rouhani, according to AFP.

Referring to the investigation into the air disaster, the IRGC commander claimed, "We didn't touch anything.”

"We didn't move the wreckage of the aircraft, we didn't change the scene, we didn't move the air defense system, and we didn't (alter) the radar readings," added Salami.




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