Iran missile attack did not aim to kill US troops, claims Iranian commander

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The Iranian missile attacks on military bases in Iraq were aimed at damaging "America's military machine" and not at killing US troops, claimed Iranian military commander Gen. Amir Ali Hajizadeh on Iranian state TV on Thursday.

“We were not looking to kill anyone in this operation, although dozens were certainly killed and wounded,” the state-run Fars news agency quoted Hajizadeh as saying.

“If we were looking to kill, we could have designed the operation in a way such that 500 [Americans] would be killed in the first step, and if they had responded, a further 4,000 to 5,000 would be killed in the next steps within 48 hours,” he claimed.

The appropriate response to the killing of Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) - Quds Force commander Qassem Soleimani is to expel US troops from the region, added Hajizadeh, who heads the IRGC's airforce.

Iran has hundreds of missiles at the ready and when Tehran launched missiles on Wednesday it had used "cyber attacks to disable [US] plane and drone navigation systems," he added.

According to Iranian state television, Hajizadeh said the attacks were the start of a series of attacks across the region.

US President Donald Trump said on Wednesday that no Americans or Iraqis were killed in Iran's recent attack. Iran's Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei described the attacks as “a slap in the face” for the US.

On the same day, a Revolutionary Guards commander said Iran would take “harsher revenge soon” after Tehran launched missile attacks on US targets in Iraq.

Hajizadeh made the comments in a press conference in front of the flags of a range of Iranian proxy organizations alongside official Iranian flags, bringing attention to Tehran's extensive regional proxy network.

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