A report that Al Asad Air Base in Iraq was attacked is not true, the U.S. military said.
A United States Central Command spokesman told The Epoch Times: “That report is false.”
The commander of the Iraqi army 7th division also told the Washington Post that the report was false, according to a journalist at the Posts’ Baghdad Bureau.
Al Asad is the largest U.S. base in Iraq. The base was expanded in 2016 as the United States ramped up operations to target the ISIS terrorist group.
The report appeared to originate from Mizan, an Iranian outlet connected with the judiciary, NIA Council Senior Research Analyst Sina Toosi said on Twitter. Various Iranian outlets appeared to copy and paste the original report.
The unconfirmed report was boosted by Farnaz Fassihi, a New York Times reporter, who later said that the information was false. She initially cited Telegram channels used by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps in reporting that ballistic missiles hit the base, causing “massive explosions.”
Strategic Sentinel, a national security analysis group, said that Fassihi’s Twitter post helped give the report credibility.
“That’s why it’s so important to questions news coming out of this region and not play victim to those who are trying to incite fear and a response to their benefit,” it said.
The airbase was expanded in 2016 as the U.S. ramped up operations to target ISIS. President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump visited there on Dec. 26, 2018, and Vice President Mike Pence and Second Lady Karen Pence visited there for Thanksgiving in 2019.
The base, also known as Ain al-Asad or Ayn al-Asad, is located about 111 miles west of Baghdad, where the United States took out Qassem Soleimani, commander of the corps’ Quds Force, overnight on Jan. 3 near Baghdad International Airport, prompting vows of revenge from Iranian leaders.
“A Severe Revenge awaits the criminals who have stained their hands with his and the other martyrs’ blood last night. Martyr Soleimani is an international figure of Resistance, and all such people will seek revenge,” Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei said.
Trump said Friday afternoon that Soleimani was planning “imminent and sinister attacks.”
“But we caught him in the act and terminated him,” he said. “We took action last night to stop a war. We did not take action to start a war.”