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this is cnn breaking news. >> welcome back to our viewers here in the united states and all around the world. you are watching breaking news on cnn. i'm rosemary church. it is now washington's move, after iran retaliated for the killing of its top commander. tehran launched more than a dozen missiles, at two bases housing forces in iraq. there were no reports of casualties just yet. after a white house briefing u.s. president donald trump, tweeted all is well. he said he would have a statement on wednesday.
the foreign minister tweeted that the response was proportiona proportionate. he says iran doesn't seek escalation or war, but will defend against any aggression. moments ago, the supreme leader spoke in a televised address, saying the region does not accept the u.s. presence. he says that soleimani's death means the revolution is alive. the funeral was delayed for several hours as a stampede in the massive crowd and killed 56 people. cnn has this covered from washington to the middle east. this hour, we'll hear from baghdad, white house correspondent, jeremy diamond, from washington, cnn's international diplomatic editor,
nic robertson, and nick paton walsh in beirut. and oren liebermann. good morning to you all. what is the latest information you have on the iran missile strikes, that targeted these two iraqi bases. and what are authorities there saying about it? >> reporter: just a short time ago, rosemary, the iraqi military command here released a statement. saying that iraq came under missile attack. 22 missiles targeting coalition bases. two of the missiles did not
explode. five other missiles, they say, targeted irbil province. now, we heard from security officials in irbil, earlier, saying it was two missiles. one impacted the airport. and another one to the west of the city. so far, there's no casualties in missile strike. here, the prime minister, the government, so far, no official reaction. we haven't been able to reach iraqi officials. we've heard them express their concern in the last few days. the iraqi minister making a case for why the forces should leave his country. it's turning into a battlefield for iran and the united states.
something interesting to point out. some people are questioning why that choice of target, why irbil, the capital of the semiautonomous kurdish region, was hit, where you have the vote, calling on the government to push u.s. and coalition forces out of the country. that session was boycotted by the kurds. some are wondering if there was a message to the kurds and the kurdish leadership in this country, rosemary. >> appreciate it. let's cross over to the saudi capital, riyadh. and rinic robertson. the retaliatory strikes have taken place. and we've seen de-escalation. we'll know more in a few hours. what is the reading on this from your vantage point there?
>> reporter: there's two messages from iran. one is external and one is internal. one that is external, this is a proportionate response. they are warning if the united states responds, there will be an escalation. you expect them to say that. but the international community, the united states and allies, this was a proportional response for what you did to us. the message internally is different. calling it a hard strike. leadership says this was a crushing response to the united states killing soleimani. on the other hand, they want to make this a success. but internationally, they are giving the impression they don't want to escalate the situation further. when we look at the target that was chosen and what happened
here, i've been there. it's at a remote location. it is a massive, sprawling base. iran has fired multiple ballistic missiles into it. by u.s. accounts, not caused casualties. if the iranians wanted to cause casualties, they could have targeted the embassy in bag cad. they wanted military targets. they could have gone to more densely-packed bases inside iraq and caused greater casualties than they have done. they've chosen a soft military target, where they could apparently avoid causing any u.s. nationalities. and themselves, avoid creating escalation and tensions here. the message here is they are creating the possibility for an off-ramp. but they've never fired the ballistic missiles before. they were domestically made. they were made under sanctions. iran will use these missiles,
from its own country, to target places in the region. it is capable of doing that. and certainly, these are the same missiles that the iranians have given to the hutus in gemmegem yemen. they have been fired. and they are large in size and potentially deadly. in riyadh here, they are aware that the missiles can also be fired at them. but it seems the iranians are aiming to create the space for, perhaps, politics to pick up, if this is the end of the military track, right now. >> certainly, a day filled with many messages. and nic robertson, thanks to you. we turn to washington, and cnn washington correspondent, jeremy diamond. we have heard from president trump, to find out what his likely next move might be. but a tweet may offer some
indication where he's going with this. what are you hearing? >> that's right, rosemary. it took us five days to see what the iranian response would be to president trump's killing of soleimani, the drone strike he ordered. now that we know what the ir iranian response is, we see how the president is responding to that. it's not the military threat he was issuing in five days. what they're seeing from the president, so far, appears to be an optimistic note. all is well. so far, so good. those are the words in that tweet. he will be giving a statement later this morning. for now, it appears that the president is trying to step back from the brink a little bit here. despite the fact he had set that red line, saying that if iran targeted americans or american interests in the region, the president seems focused on this notion of casualties, pointing
to the tweet. the president talked about american interests, as well, suggesting there didn't have to be casualties to prompt the massive american military response he had teed up. 52 targets, he had mentioned. the president is stepping back here. we'll have to wait and see what his statement is later this morning. >> yes. jeremy diamond, many thanks. let's get the latest from tehran. it appears some effort was made to avoid u.s. casualties. how likely is it that that was a deliberate act on the part of iran? do they have the capability to do that? >> reporter: rosemary, in fact, iranian officers don't want to
go into the details of their strike or what they call it harsh. analysts close tried to say that the huge human casualties has been inflicted to american forces. the americans, they say, are hiding the number of casualties and tried to show that, okay, everything is normal. but actually, iranian authorities say that the human casualties has been huge on the side of american forces. rosemary? >> all right. ramin, many thanks to you. joining us live from tehran. another story we are watching closely. the ukrainian embassy in iran is ruling out a terror attack as the cause of a plane crash. all 176 passengers and crew
aboard the flight were killed when the boeing 737 went down, minutes after it took off from tehran's international airport early wednesday. emergency crews are at the crash site, where charred pieces of the plane are strewn across the ground. cnn aviation correspondent richard quest joins me now from beirut in lebanon. and matthew chance is with us from moscow. richard, i want to start with you. what's the latest information you have on the plane crash? and what do you think of the possible causes behind it? >> reporter: so far, all we know, is that the pilot did not manage to get a mayday out. but there were technical difficulties. the plane was two or three minutes in the night. it was 700 or so feet.
and for some reason, it fell out of the sky. and the pictures that you're seeing this morning, of extreme debris, violent fire. that's what you would expect for a plane that had lots of fuel that was going on a medium-haul flight. as for suggestions that the plane was downed by military activity. none of the authorities have said that. quite the opposite. the ukrainian authorities have suggested that is not the case. and there is no reason to believe that is other than a sad coincidence that it is a ukrainiukrain ukrainian plane, at the tehran airport, on a day when iran struck back at the base. >> it is a tragic coincidence. richard quest joining us live from beirut. let's go to matthew chance in moscow. what are you hearing from there about this crash?
>> reporter: what richard was just saying, the embassy in tehr tehran, has issued a statement in the last hour, basically saying that terrorist attack or rocket attack has been ruled out, to explain why this boeing 737 dropped out of the sky suddenly after takeoff. the embassy, according to official information, the plane crashed due to an engine accident, and due to technical reasons, not going into further detail. they don't know further detail. i expect a long-running investigation, as the recovery effort continues to retrieve the flight recorders from the fiery scenes we see on television, after the crash site, shortly after the plane took off, bound for the ukrainian capital, kiev.
there's been reports looking into. ukraine airlines saying they are suspended flights to tehran indefinitely. there's been messages of condolences, by iranian and ukrainian officials. the ukrainian president has come back early from vacation. he issued condolences to the family. the prime minister has called this a tragedy. those condolences coming in now from officials. >> many thanks. matthew chance with all of the details in moscow. we appreciate it. still to come, cnn's extensive coverage of the
iranian strikes continuing after this break. we'll have a report from the pentagon. and our cnn military analyst will weigh in. we have oren liebermann in israel. and nick paton walsh will join us from beirut. stay with us. [coughs] kim is now demonstrating her congestion. save it, slimeball. i've upgraded to mucinex. we still have 12 hours to australia. mucinex lasts 12 hours, so i'm good. now move- kim nooooo!! mucinex has a patented tablet that lasts 3x longer, for 12 hours. they have businesses to grow customers to care for lives to get home to they use stamps.com print discounted postage for any letter
back to our breaking news on the iran crisis. president trump has tweeted he will make a statement on the iranian missile attacks on wednesday. that's a few hours from now. tehran retaliated for the strike that killed their general, soleimani last week. by firing missiles at bases where u.s. troops are stationed. there's no reports of casualties but the assessment is ongoing. the revolutionary guard calls the attacks hard revenge for
soleimani's death. they will attack inside the united states if america retaliates. joining me now, john kirby, a cnn diplomatic analyst. always a pleasure to have you on the show. >> my pleasure. >> reporte >> iran's strikes crossed the red line. we've learned that iran's strike was not populated by americans. and iran's foreign minister tweeted this, we do not seek escalation or war. all is well. missiles launched from iran at two military bases. assessment of casualties and damages. now, so far, so good. could all this possibly indicate that both sides are trying to
de-escalate the situation? and do you believe that was a deliberate effort on a part of iran to avoid u.s. casualties? >> your first question, i don't think we can relax and think it's over. from twitter, it seems like both sides want to ratchet down the tensions. that's encouraging, as well as the president's tweet. there's some interest in de-escalating. i don't know if we know enough right now to completely relax. we have to see what happens in the next hours and weeks. the intent of iranians not to hit u.s. troops and cause casualties, again, we have to know the information to be sure about that. it seems to be the case that
they hit the part of the base that was not populated by troops. it is like a sprawling cop pl i. there's 1,500 or so americans on that base. quite a good number. we just don't know enough. they used the ballistic missiles. they can be precise. but the iranian systems are not as precise as ours. there was risk in using that kind of missile if your goal was not to hurt or kill. we have to wait and see. it would be encouraging if it was their intent to hit targets that were not populated. we don't know. >> but the iranian missiles have become more precise, haven't they? >> yes. >> talk to us about that and whether the missile strikes were for the benefit of a domestic audience and therefore has
satisfied iranians for that retaliatory action. and i do want to talk to you more widely on the weapons capability of iran. >> the ballistic missile program has gotten more sophisticated. they have poured a lot of money and research and time into improving their ballistic missile capability. that's one of the sticking points. the iran deal did not deal with the ballistic missile program and allowed them to continue to improve it. they have. that said, even their most advanced ballistic missile system is as advanced as ours or western standards. there is a level of precision, but they're not perfect or as good as other nations have, western nations have. again, we have to see what systems were used here and to
what effect. but they have not advanced their program as far as some other nations have. >> retired rear admiral, john kirby. many thanks. we'll wait to hear the statement from the u.s. president. it's critical and determine where all of this goes from here. my thanks to you, as always. countries across the middle east, are on high alert, as tensions between the united states and iran, and we will have more reaction from the region. that's next. ♪ ♪girls on the floor gotta ty point lead and a minute left♪ ♪queens on the team in real life not just on the internet♪ ♪all strength, we ain't stoppin' believe me♪ ♪go straight till the morning look like we♪ ♪won't wait, we're taking everything we wanted we can do it♪ ♪all strength, no sweat
this is cnn breaking news. >> updating our top story now. iran retaliated the killing of its top commander by launching missiles at bases in iraq. there's no casualties so far. there's 5,000 foreign troops and other forces in iraq. they've been advising iraqi forces in the battle against islamic state militants. restrict restricted air space over iraq, iran and, the persian gulf and the strait of oman. the supreme leader said it was a crushing response and he called for the end of the
american presence. he explained the motives and warned the u.s. not to retaliate further. the group called the attack hard revenge for the killing of soleimani. it warned of more painful responses if the u.s. continues its, quote, wickedness. it urged the american public to call on u.s. troops to prevent further casualties. iranians turned that hard revenge into a hash tag. we do not seek escalation or war but will defend ourselves against any aggression. then, there was this tweet of an iranian flag by the top nuclear
negotiator, a troll of the american president, who tweeted an american flag after the strike that killed soleimani. president trump said he will make a statement on the attacks on wednesday, in a few hours. and he downplayed the situation on twitter, saying this -- all is well. missiles launched from iran, at two military bases located in iraq. assessment of casualties and damages taking place now. so far, so good. u.s. senator lindsey graham had a different take on the attacks. here's his reaction on fox news. >> this was an act of war. missiles launched from iran at iraq and military personnel. the president has all he needs to respond. the price has to go up before they change. and the president is not looking for regime change. but he's looking for behavior
changes. the targets, are they going to be military targets? let me say tonight, if you're watching television in iran. i just got off the phone with the president. your fate is in your own hands in terms of the regime's viability. you continue this crap, you'll wake up one day out of the oil business. let's turn to beirut and the security editor, nick paton walsh. there's possible signs the u.s. and iran may be stepping back from the brink. we will know more about that in a few hours from now. what is the view from the region? >> reporter: this all hinges on president trump. they were trying to downlay the attack by iran.
there were no u.s. casualties. and the signals we're hearing, seems to suggest that iran believes this was more effective than it appears it actually was. that may be for domestic consumption. there's some suggestions that there were casualties when all other sources appear there weren't. we're left with a confusing idea. if this was the entirety of the response so far, why was this launched at a time of night, when there would have been minimal troop presence, proving around the base. that's 1:00, 2:00 in the morning. this base has been there for quite some time. no reason to think, unless they got a district hit near or on places where troops were actually sleeping, they would have killed that many of them. and iranian missiles, not particularly pinpoint accurate. and they know they would be
going through a variety of early warning and missile defense systems. it seems like the strike wasn't planned or calculated to cause maximum u.s. casualties. it's early days, leading to the question, why was it launched in the first place. perhaps iran isn't that strong. we've always known that the u.s. and iran, head-to-head in military confrontation, will find the pentagon in the attendance. the supreme leader, you saw there, appears that he wanted to see a military-to-military open response. this is that. was it a show of military weakness? is this their way of saying, let's calm down for a bit? or is it, if you view the longer game here, a move to make america think that the retaliation is done.
as we would normally expect from iran, incremental, asymmetrical moves against u.s. assesses or allies, slowly in the weeks and months ahead. it doesn't seem, frankly, like this is the kind of #ha #hardrevenge," as you see they are saying this morning. a very interesting moment. it depends on donald trump and his reaction to things. it does seem this may be an off-ramp, particularly given the signals we're hearing from iran. >> let's hope it is. we shall see in a few hours. nick paton walsh, bringing that live report from beirut. many thanks. we have this reaction just in from the iranian foreign minister. he spoke with reporters in tehran, just moments ago.
>>. >> translator: we did not start this escalation. the united states has to come to its senses. the presence of iranian people in the streets of many cities, unprecedented in the history. a sea of humanity. has to bring the united states to its senses. if it wants to deal with this people, it has to deal with this people based on respect. not based on threat and not based on sanctions. europe can play a useful role by informing the united states of the serious error in their analysis, they should stop listening to clowns. they should base their policy based on realities and not some illusions of some clowns that have ambitions. >> iran's foreign minister speaking with reporters moments ago. still to come, after a hottest december on record, australia's deadly wildfires,
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died, as well. they are suspending flights to tehran until further notice. we want to turn to another big story we've been watching closely. 24 people have been charged in new south wales over deliberately lighting some of the fires that have devastated vast parts of australia. at least 25 people have died and more than 2,000 homes have been destroyed since the bush fire season began. as we have seen, this year's bush fire season has been one of the worst in australia's history, in fact. here's a look at how bad the blazes have been, at last count. about 2,700 firefighters were battling the blazes across the country. and in new south wales, there are about 136 active fires. the university of sydney estimates almost 500,000 animals have died across new south wales, including close to one-third of the koala population. in total, more than 14 million
acres have burned across australia's six states. the fires are so bad, the smoke is visible from space and it's managed to migrate to the other side of the world. the skies as far away as chile and south america have gone gray. anna coren is live for us in the coastal town of new south wales. as if the bush fires aren't heartbreaking enough. now, we learn that arsonists have been charged with deliberately lyinging the fires. what is the current situation with the bush fires. >> reporter: we knew that people had lit fires. unfortunately, this happens every summer.
the number is staggering. when we see the pictures and the devastation, the lost lives, the homes, the livelihoods destroyed, it just begs belief. when i spoke to the fire captain yesterday, and said, how do feel knowing people light fires? he said, these are people that need help. why would anyone do such a heinous act. you can say australians are reviled by this act. throwing a cigarette butt out a car window, that is enough to ignite a raging inferno. and we've seen it happen time and time again. that's why you have fire bans across the state. we're approaching bad conditions
come friday. it is cool. conditions have eased. there's humidity in the air. we know come friday, the dry windy conditions will return. we went up with the air attack supervisor. he had not been in the air since the fires roared through this area. it was absolutely staggering to see how much bushland has been wiped out. how close it's gotten to the township of eden. this is a fire that's out of control. and it will take next to nothing to whip it up and pose a threat once again, rosemary. >> it is just tragic on so many
levels. anna coren, in new south wales. appreciate that. back to our top story, next, with an update from the pentagon on the iranian missile strikes against u.s. tar gegets in iraq. legacybox is simple and safe, with over half a million satisfied customers. visit legacybox.com today, and get 40% off.
their second base near irbil, was also hit at the same time. >> that was iran confirming the missile strike on iraqi bases housing u.s. troops. tehran says its retaliation for the u.s. strike that killed their general. his warning, if the u.s. retaliates, tehran will attack inside the united states and target cities in the united arab emirates and israel. president trump says he will make a statement on the situation on wednesday. and that is just in a few hours from now.
the defense department is saying they will take all necessary measures to protect allies on the ground. >> reporter: still no official word from the pentagon as to whether there were u.s. casualties in this attack. but u.s. sources telling us there were, at this stage, believed to be no casualties in the strike. maybe because the missiles struck a part of the base that was not populated by u.s. forces. other issues are looked at, like what types of missiles were used and if they were accurate when they were fired into the bases. or if they were a mistake or intercepted by the military defenses. we hope to learn. at this point, it looks like no
significant attacks. 14,000 troops added because there was increased threat from iran. those forces have not been called into action, to respond. but they remain postured to do so if president trump makes that decision. it appears, that tmissiles, whie making a lot of noise, did not have deadly effects. ryan brown, the pentagon. >> thanks, ryan. they have threatened to attack u.s. allies if their country is bombed. they said they would have a third wave in dubai in the uae and haifa in israel. oren liebermann is in haifa. he joins us live. what is the feeling in israel? is there a sense that the u.s. and iran may be stepping back
from the brink? >> these are threats we heard before from iran and hezbollah. in fact, if this day were clearer, we would see southern lebanon. this is what you see is the port city of haifa. it's the largest city in northern israel. it is often a target of rhetoric. now, israel sees this threats as rhetoric. as of now, it remains that way. it remains the course of the past few days. israel views this seriously. there's a security assessment here at 2:00 p.m. local time. that was scheduled two day ago ahead of the iranian response at the air bases. benjamin netanyahu is going to speak any minute now. we will watch what he says closely. for the most part, israel has
been quiet here. and israel has been happy to step back. in the past, months ago, israel has threatened soleimani in particular. they have put up media posts about him, but not right now. israel is being quieter. we'll see what netanyahu has to say. he has backed actions over the course of the last few days. that's the message we expect to hear. does he go beyond that? we will see if he does. in addition, as netanyahu speaks at the policy forum, we'll see if they have anything to say and what direction that points israel's policy right now. rosemary? >> oren liebermann, bringing us that report from haifa. many thanks. thank you for joining us. i'm rosemary church. we will continue on "early start" coming up in just a moment. all the services of the post office only cheaper
iran launches missile attacks on u.s. military bases in iraq. is this the end or just the beginning? cnn is live this morning in baghdad, beirut, abu dhabi, and washington. welcome to our viewers in the united states and around the world. this is "early start." i'm laura jarrett. >> i'm christine romans. 4:00 a.m. in new york. breaking news -- iran delivering the revenge it pro a