US-Iran Tensions: Rockets Hit Iraq Airbase Hosting American Forces

New Delhi, News Nation Bureau | Updated : 15 January 2020, 08:08 AM
The statement from Iraq’s military did not say how many rockets had hit Camp Taji but reported that there were no casualties.
The statement from Iraq’s military did not say how many rockets had hit Camp Taji but reported that there were no casualties. (Photo Credit : File Photo )

In the latest attack on installations where American troops are deployed, rockets targeted an Iraqi airbase north of Baghdad hosting US-led coalition forces. The statement from Iraq’s military did not say how many rockets had hit Camp Taji but reported that there were no casualties.

The attack comes days after a volley of rockets hit an airbase in Iraq injuring four Iraqi soldiers. The Iraqi military confirmed the reports saying eight Katyusha-type rockets landed on Al-Balad airbase, wounding two Iraqi officers and two airmen.

A majority of US airmen stationed at the Al-Balad airbase north of Baghdad had already left, the military sources said, following tensions between the US and Iran over the last two weeks. Military bases hosting US troops have been subject to volleys of rocket and mortar attacks in recent months that have mostly wounded Iraqi forces, but also killed one American contractor last month.

That death set off a series of dramatic developments, with the US carrying out strikes against a pro-Iran paramilitary group in Iraq as well as a convoy carrying top Iranian and Iraqi commanders outside Baghdad airport.

Tehran launched ballistic missiles at Iraqi bases housing American and other coalition forces in retaliation for the US killing top Iranian general Qasem Soleimani.

Qasem Soleimani, the popular head of the Revolutionary Guards' foreign operations arm, was killed in a US drone strike outside Baghdad airport on Friday, ratcheting up tensions between the arch-foes.

Violations of Iraq’s sovereignty: US on rocket attacks

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said he was “outraged” by another missile attack on an Iraqi airbase where US forces have been stationed, as neighbouring Iran signalled a wish to de-escalate regional tensions. “Outraged by reports of another rocket attack on an Iraqi airbase,” Pompeo tweeted.    

"These continued violations of Iraq’s sovereignty by groups not loyal to the Iraqi government must end.” There was no immediate claim of responsibility for Sunday’s rocket attacks. The US has previously blamed such attacks on Iran-backed groups in Iraq.

Iraqi leaders privately want US troops to stay: Mike Pompeo

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo alleged Monday that Iraqi leaders have told him privately they support the US troop presence, despite public appeals for them to leave. This came after last week Iraq’s parliament voted to expel the US military from the country. The lawmakers voted in favour of a resolution that mandates to end the presence of military of any other country in Iraq. With almost 5,000 US troops stationed in Iraq, the resolution seeks United States to withdraw its military.

First Published: Wednesday, January 15, 2020 07:00 AM
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