Rockets hit Iraqi base housing US forces, wounding two

Iraqi militia groups aligned with Iran vowed to retaliate after last month's US strikes on the Iraqi-Syrian border


Reuters July 07, 2021

BAGHDAD:

At least 14 rockets hit an Iraqi air base hosting US and other international forces on Wednesday, slightly wounding two people, the US-led coalition said, as Kurdish-led forces in Syria said they thwarted a drone attack in an area where US forces also operate.

There were no immediate claims of responsibility for the attacks, part of a recent wave targeting US troops or areas where they operate in Iraq and Syria, both countries where Iran-backed militias hold sway.

Iraqi militia groups aligned with Iran vowed to retaliate after last month's US strikes on the Iraqi-Syrian border killed four of their members.

Also read: Rockets hit Iraqi base housing US forces

Two people were slightly wounded in the rocket attack on the Ain al-Asad air base in western Iraq, US Army Colonel Wayne Marotto, spokesman for the coalition, said. He initially put the number of injuries at three. The rockets landed on the base and its perimeter, he tweeted.

In Syria, the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces said no damage was done by the drone attack on the Al Omar oil field in eastern Syria, an area bordering Iraq where US forces came under rocket fire but escaped injury on June 28.

There was no immediate comment from the US military about the Syria attack.

The United States told the UN Security Council last week that it targeted Iran-backed militia in Syria and Iraq with airstrikes to deter the militants and Tehran from conducting or supporting further attacks on US personnel or facilities.

Iran has denied US accusations it supports attacks on US forces in Iraq and Syria, while condemning US airstrikes on Iranian-backed militants there.

Also read: Pentagon defends secretive exit from Afghan airbase

Iraqi army officials said the pace of recent attacks against US bases with rockets and explosive-laden drones was unprecedented.

Iraqi military sources said a rocket launcher fixed on the back of a truck was used in Wednesday's attack on the Ain al-Asad air base and was found on nearby farmland set on fire.

On Tuesday, a drone attacked Erbil airport in northern Iraq, targeting a US base on the airport grounds, Kurdish security sources said.

Three rockets also landed on Ain al-Asad on Monday without causing casualties.

The United States has been holding indirect talks with Iran aimed at bringing both nations back into compliance with the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, which was abandoned by former President Donald Trump. No date has set for a next round of the talks, which adjourned on June 20.

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