The Iranian missile attacks on two bases in Iraq were meant to kill U.S. troops and inflict major damage although they caused no casualties, Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Mark Milley said Wednesday.
The ballistic missile launches “were intended to cause structural damage, destroy vehicles and equipment, and to kill personnel. That’s my own personnel assessment,” Milley said of the Tuesday night attacks which hit Al Asad airbase in Anbar province and Erbil in the Kurdish autonomous region.
At an off-camera Pentagon briefing, both Milley and Defense Secretary Mark Esper gave a description of the attacks, appearing to rebut speculation that the Iranians may have intentionally missed targets to avoid an overwhelming retaliatory strike.
“My assessment is that they were intentional, given what was hit, the aim points,” Esper said. The avoidance of casualties was “more due to the defensive techniques our forces used” than the intent of the Iranians, Milley said.