US troops clear rubble from Iraq base days after Iran strike

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A bulldozer clears rubble and debris at Ain al-Asad air base in Anbar, Iraq on Monday, Jan. 13, 2020. (AP)
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Bulldozers clear rubble and debris at Ain Al-Asad air base in Anbar, Iraq on Monday, Jan. 13, 2020. (AP)
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Updated 13 January 2020

US troops clear rubble from Iraq base days after Iran strike

  • The Ain Al-Asad air base in Iraq’s western Anbar province is a sprawling complex about 180 kilometers west of Baghdad
  • Ain Al-Asad air base was first used by American forces after the 2003 US-led invasion that toppled dictator Saddam Hussein

AIN AL-ASAD BASE, Iraq: US troops were clearing rubble and debris on Monday from a military base housing American soldiers in western Iraq, days after it was struck by Iranian ballistic missiles.
The Ain Al-Asad air base in Iraq’s western Anbar province is a sprawling complex about 180 kilometers west of Baghdad and houses about 1,500 members of the US military and the US-led coalition fighting the Islamic State militant group.
It was struck by a barrage of Iranian missiles on Wednesday, in retaliation for the US drone strike that killed a top Iranian commander, Gen. Qassem Soleimani, whose killing raised fears of a wider war in the Middle East.
An Associated Press crew touring the Ain Al-Asad base Monday saw large craters in the ground and damaged military trailers as well as forklifts lifting rubble and loading it onto trucks from a large area the size of a football stadium.
The US said no American soldiers were killed or wounded in the Iranian attack.
Ain Al-Asad air base was first used by American forces after the 2003 US-led invasion that toppled dictator Saddam Hussein, and later saw American troops stationed there amid the fight against the Daesh group in Iraq and Syria.
Trump visited the sprawling Ain Al-Asad air base in December 2018, making his first presidential visit to troops in the region. Vice President Mike Pence also has visited the base.


Iran warns of lengthy ‘new way of life’ as virus deaths rise

An Iranian army soldier walks through a temporary hospital in Tehran, Iran, Thursday, March 26, 2020. (AP)
Updated 30 March 2020

Iran warns of lengthy ‘new way of life’ as virus deaths rise

  • Without an official lockdown in place, the government has repeatedly urged Iranians to stay home “as much as possible”

TEHRAN: President Hassan Rouhani has warned that “the new way of life” in Iran was likely to be prolonged, as its declared death toll from the novel coronavirus rose to 2,640.
Iran is one of the countries worst-hit by the virus, which first originated in China.
Iran announced its first infection cases on Feb. 19, but a senior health official has acknowledged that the virus was likely to have already reached Iran in January.
At his daily news briefing, health ministry spokesman Kianoush Jahanpour said 123 more people in Iran had died from the virus in the past 24 hours.
He reported 2,901 new cases of COVID-19 infection, bringing the overall number of officially confirmed cases to 38,309.
According to the official, 12,391 of those hospitalized have recovered and 3,467 are in “critical” condition.
“We must prepare to live with this virus until a treatment or vaccine is discovered, which has not yet happened to date,” President Hassan Rouhani said in a Cabinet meeting.
“The new way of life we have adopted” is to everyone’s benefit, he said, adding that “these changes will likely have to stay in place for some time.”
After weeks of refraining from imposing lockdown or quarantine measures, Tehran decided Wednesday to ban all intercity travel until at least April 8.
Without an official lockdown in place, the government has repeatedly urged Iranians to stay home “as much as possible.” Schools and universities in some provinces were closed in late February and the measure was later extended to the whole country.
After Rouhani’s warning, the reopening of schools following this year’s new year holidays of March 19 to April 3 appears unlikely.

FASTFACT

Iran announced its first infection cases on Feb. 19, but a senior health official has acknowledged that the virus was likely to have already reached Iran in January

On a positive note, Rouhani said he had been told by top health experts and doctors that “in some provinces we have passed the peak (of the epidemic) and are on a downward trajectory.”
Several Iranian government officials and notable figures have been infected by the new coronavirus, some of whom have died.
The most recent case of infection was Mohammed-Reza Khatami, brother of former president Mohammad Khatami and an ex-deputy speaker of parliament.
He is currently hospitalized.
Iraj Harirchi, a deputy health minister who tested positive for the virus in late February, has returned to public life and appeared on state television to emphasize safety precautions.