MISSILES have struck US military bases in Iraq in apparent Iranian retaliation to the American assassination of General Qassem Soleimani.
Casualty numbers remained unclear at the time of publication.
The conflict seemingly heightens the risk of a threat to shipping in the key waterways of the Strait of Hormuz and the Persian Gulf.
The Strait of Hormuz has been described as “the most sensitive transportation choke point for global oil supplies”.
According to the US Energy Information Administration, around 21m barrels of oil a day flowed through it in 2018, equivalent to roughly a third of global seaborne oil trade.
The Strait became a focus of global attention last year with attacks on oil tankers in the region, incidents widely blamed (though denied) on Iran.