Rockets strike military airbase in Iraq that hosts US-led troops

One Contractor Killed as Ten Rockets Fall on Iraqi Airbase Hosting US Forces

One Contractor Killed as Ten Rockets Fall on Iraqi Airbase Hosting US Forces

Ain Al Asad Airbase, which is located in Iraq's Al Anbar province and hosts Iraqi and USA troops, was subjected to a massive rocket attack on Wednesday, Iraq's state-run news agency INA reported, citing a security source.

Shafaq News also quoted a security official as confirming the news and reporting that the United States coalition base in Ain al-Asad was targeted by four Katyusha rockets.

No casualties were immediately reported, according to Reuters.

It was the second rocket attack in Iraq this month and came two days before Pope Francis is due to visit the country.

It stoked fears of a possible repeat of a series of tit-for-tat attacks that escalated a year ago, culminating in the US-directed strike that killed Iranian General Qassim Soleimani outside the Baghdad airport.

The Pentagon had said the strike was a "proportionate military response" taken after consulting coalition partners.

Last week, two F-15E Strike Eagle jets destroyed several buildings at a complex along the Iraq-Syria border that the US believes Iran-backed paramilitary groups were using for operations in the region.

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Last week's USA strike along the border had been in response to a spate of rocket attacks that targeted the American presence, including one that killed a coalition contractor from the Philippines outside the Irbil airport.

The strike was meant to send a clear message that Biden would act to defend us and allied troops, Defense Department spokesman John Kirby said last week.

British Ambassador to Iraq Stephen Hickey condemned the attack, saying it undermined the ongoing fight against the Islamic State group.

Another Iraqi security source and a government official who spoke on condition of anonymity said the rockets were launched from the Baiader area, west of Baghdadi city.

"Despicable attacks against Ain al-Asad base in #Iraq are completely unacceptable", Danish Foreign Minister Jeppe Kofod tweeted. The attack early Wednesday is the first since, and Marotto said Iraqi security forces were investigating it.

Dozens of rocket attacks and roadside bombs targeted Western security, military and diplomatic sites in Iraq in 2020, with Iraqi and Western military sources blaming hardline pro-Iran factions.

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