India has advised its citizens to avoid all non-essential travel to Iraq in the wake of missile strike by Iran on American bases

Raveesh Kumar, the spokesperson of Ministry of External Affairs, said on Twitter, “In view of the prevailing situation in Iraq, Indian nationals are advised to avoid all non-essential travel to Iraq until further notification. Indian nationals residing in Iraq are advised to be alert and may avoid travel within Iraq.” 

“Our Embassy in Baghdad and Consulate in Erbil will continue to function normally to provide all services to Indians residing in Iraq,” he added in his second tweet.

In a pre-dawn attack on Wednesday, the US department of defence aid that Iran launched more than a dozen ballistic missiles against its military and coalition forces at two bases in Iraq. “It is clear that these missiles were launched from Iran and targeted at least two Iraqi military bases hosting US military and coalition personnel at Al-Assad and Erbil,” US department of defence spokesman Jonathan Hoffman said.

These bases, he added, had been “on high alert due to indications that the Iranian regime planned to attack our forces and interests in the region”.

These attacks were carried out by Iran in retaliation to killing of head of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps-Quds Force (IRGC) Qassem Soleimani last week. Tasnim News, an Iranian news outlet closely linked to the IRGC, reported the IRGC had fired “tens” of rockets in an operation dubbed “Operation Martyr Soleimani”, to avenge the assassination of General Soleimani.

A few hours after the strike, government spokesman Ali Rabiei said Iran is not seeking war but it will deliver a crushing response to any aggression. “We thank the Revolutionary Guards’ successful operation ... We have never wanted war but any aggression will receive a crushing response,” Rabiei said on Twitter.

A senior official in Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s office said Iran’s response to the killing of its top commander Qassem Soleimani so far had been the “weakest” of the Iranian revenge scenarios, state TV reported.