The Middle East crisis is hotting up. After the killing of General Suleimani close to Baghdad airport, the Islamic Republic of Iran has retaliated. The attack, dubbed "Operation Martyr Suleimani," resulted in Iran launching more than a dozen missiles at two US military bases that house US troops in Iraq.

This appears to be in retaliation for the American airstrike that killed the Iranian general. CNN has reported that this attack means President Donald Trump is faced with the biggest test of his presidency to date. No immediate reports of any casualties have been reported.

The attack

The US military has confirmed that Al-Asad airbase in Iraq's Anbar province was hit at least six times.

The Pentagon also confirmed that at least one other base in the northern city of Erbil was targeted in the attack which commenced around 1:30 AM. The Khaleej Times has reported Tehran fired more than a dozen ballistic missiles

The American president struck an upbeat tone in the immediate wake of the attacks. He has tweeted that "all is well."

Proportionate self-defense

The Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif said on Twitter that Iran has carried out this attack as a "proportionate measures in self-defense.

" It is not clear whether Iran will take any further action as a reprisal for the death of General Suleimani. The general headed the elite al-Quds Force, an external operations wing of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps. The IRGC has a strength of about 150,000 and is better armed and trained than the regular army.

The al-Quds force which was commanded by Suleimani has a strength of about 5000 and is positioned in Iraq.

So far, no report of any damage or death has been reported.

The United States has said it was working on an initial assessment of the damage and said that the bases had been on high alert. An Iranian response was expected after the killing of the general.

Iran has signaled that if the USA does not retaliate there would be no further attacks. This can be concluded from the statement of the Iranian foreign minister who has said that this attack was a proportional response taken in self-defense.

Both the bases which were attacked house US troops and aircraft. The American forces in Iraq number about 5,000 and they are ostensibly there to train the Iraqi forces as well as fight ISIS. Matters have been compounded to a degree, with a non-binding resolution being passed by the Iraqi parliament asking for the withdrawal of foreign troops from Iraq.

A crisis

President Trump is facing a crisis. He had earlier suggested that the US would also target Iran's cultural sites but it appears he has backtracked from this threat. The Iranian attack has had repercussions and Canada which currently leads the NATO training mission has announced that it is pulling out 500 troops. NATO already faces cracks in its unity. Germany has also announced that its presence in Iraq would be thinned out. All eyes are now on Donald Trump and the world will be watching to see whether the American president will further escalate the crisis by responding to the Iranian attack or do nothing. He is certainly in an unenviable position.

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