Wednesday 8 January 2020 7:24 am

UK condemns attacks on Iraq military bases as ‘reckless and dangerous’

Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab has condemned Iranian missile attacks on military bases in Iraq that hosted US-led coalition forces, including British personnel.

Iran fired more than a dozen ballistic missiles at at least two military bases where coalition forces were based early on Wednesday, the US military said.

Read more: Boris Johnson accused of ‘hiding’ as Iran crisis rumbles on

“We condemn this attack on Iraqi military bases hosting coalition – including British – forces,” Raab said in a statement. 

“We urge Iran not to repeat these reckless and dangerous attacks, and instead to pursue urgent de-escalation,” he added.

Oil prices rose following the attacks, with Brent Crude up 0.97 per cent on Wednesday morning to $68.93 (£52.43) per barrel. West Texas Intermediate rose 0.75 per cent. 

So-called safe haven assets such as gold also climbed on the news.

Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif said Iran was not seeking “escalation or war”, but would defend itself “against any aggression”.

In a tweet following the missile attacks, Zarif said: “Iran took & concluded proportionate measures in self-defense under Article 51 of UN Charter targeting base from which cowardly armed attack against our citizens & senior officials were launched.”

Tensions have flared in the Middle East following the killing of Iranian military commander General Qassem Soleimani in a US air strike on Friday. 

Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Khamenei has vowed “severe revenge” over the incident.

The US Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) has banned US carriers from airspace over Iraq and Iran, as well as the Gulf of Oman and the waters between Iran and Saudi Arabia.

Read more: Qasem Soleimani: Mourners killed in stampede at general’s funeral

The FAA said the ban had been imposed “due to heightened military activities and increased political tensions in the Middle East, which present an inadvertent risk to US civil aviation operations.”

Major airlines including Qantas, Air Canada, Singapore Airlines, and Malaysia Airlines said they were altering routes over the region in response to the crisis.

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