Iranian commander: Strikes on US targets 'did not intend to kill'

An Iranian military commander on Thursday said the strikes on Iraqi bases housing U.S. troops this week were not intended to cause casualties, marking the latest sign of Washington and Tehran taking steps to de-escalate tensions.

“We did not intend to kill. We intended to hit the enemy’s military machinery,” said Brig. Gen. Amir Ali Hajizadeh, the head of the Revolutionary Guard’s Aerospace Force, according to The Washington Post, citing Iranian state media.

He then reiterated Iran’s claim that “tens of people were killed or wounded,” despite U.S. and Iraqi officials saying there were no casualties.

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Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Mark Milley said Wednesday that the attack appeared designed to kill personnel.

“The points of impact were close enough to personnel and equipment, so on and so forth, I believe, based on what I saw and what I know, is that they were intended to cause structural damage, destroy vehicles and equipment and aircraft, and to kill personnel,” Milley said. “That’s my own personal assessment, but the analytics is in the hands of professional intelligence analysts, so they’re looking at that.”

Tensions between Iran and the U.S. hit new highs last week after President TrumpDonald John TrumpProfessor fired for Facebook post suggesting Iran should tweet out list of American cultural sites to threaten NY judge denies Trump request to dismiss lawsuit by E. Jean Carroll Rep. Omar: ‘War trauma never leaves you’ MORE authorized the killing of Gen. Qassem Soleimani in Baghdad, prompting Iran to vow retaliation. That retaliation came in the form of a missile attack on two Iraqi bases.

Trump on Wednesday, speaking a day after the missile attack, said Iran seemed to be “standing down.” He previously said the U.S. would strike Iranian sites if Tehran retaliated with force following Soleimani’s death.

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