Mark Milley
Mark Milley Reuters

The top US military officer said on Wednesday that Iran’s missile attack in Iraq on Tuesday night had been intended to kill US personnel as well as cause major damage at al-Asad airbase.

“I believe, based on what I saw and what I know, is that (the strikes) were intended to cause structural damage, destroy vehicles and equipment and aircraft and to kill personnel. That’s my own personal assessment,” Army General Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told reporters, according to Reuters.

“But the analytics is in the hands of professional intelligence analysts. So they’re looking at that,” he said.

Milley added that it was still too early to tell if Iran would carry out additional attacks.

He commended the military commanders on the ground for taking appropriate action to safeguard US personnel.

Defense Secretary Mark Esper also spoke about the Iranian attack, saying the Islamic Republic launched 16 short range ballistic missiles from at least three locations.

Iran's attack on the air bases in Iraq did not damage anything major as the missiles hit targets including tents, a parking lot and a helicopter which was damaged, he told reporters.

The US military remains “poised and ready”, stressed Esper.

The Pentagon said on Tuesday night that Iran launched more than a dozen ballistic missiles against US military and coalition forces in Iraq.

Iran state TV said that Tehran launched “tens” of surface-to-surface missiles at the Ain Assad air base which houses US troops in Iraq.

State TV described the attack as Tehran’s revenge operation over the killing of Gen. Qassem Soleimani, head of the Quds Force of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard.

Earlier on Wednesday, US President Donald Trump delivered an address to the nation following the Iranian missile attacks.

“All of our soldiers are safe,” he said, noting that there were no American casualties in the attacks.

“Iran appears to be standing down," he added.

"Peace and stability cannot prevail in the Middle East as long as Iran continues to foment violence, unrest, hatred, and war. The civilized world must send a clear and unified message to the Iranian regime: Your campaign of terror, murder, mayhem will not be tolerated any longer. It will not be allowed to go forward," the President said.