Iraq rocket fire targets base hosting USA, coalition forces

U.S. Army drones are seen at the Ain al Asad airbase in the western Iraqi province of Anbar Jan. 13 2020

U.S. Army drones are seen at the Ain al Asad airbase in the western Iraqi province of Anbar Jan. 13 2020

A civilian contractor with the US-led coalition in Iraq died of a heart attack during a rocket attack on a western base on Wednesday, Iraqi and Western security sources said.

Iraq's Ain al-Asad airbase that hosts the United States, coalition and Iraqi forces was hit with multiple rockets, Reuters reported quoting two security sources.

The attack caused no significant losses, Iraqi's military said without going into further detail.

It was the first attack since the USA struck Iran-aligned militia targets along the Iraq-Syria border last week.

On 15 February a rocket attack on US-led forces killed a civilian contractor and injured a USA service member in the Kurdish regional capital Erbil.

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

It was the first attack since the US struck Iran-aligned militia targets along the Iraq-Syria border last week, stoking fears of a possible repeat of a series of tit-for-tat attacks that escalated previous year, culminating in the USA -directed strike that killed Iranian Qassem Soleimani-the top commander of Iran's foreign operations and the Quds Force-outside the Baghdad airport.

The U.S. chose its target after an Iraqi investigation helped identify who carried out the Irbil attack, officials have said.

Two people were killed in the Arbil airport attack, including one foreign contractor based at the airport.

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

Iraqi security forces said 10 "Grad-type rockets" hit the sprawling base on Wednesday morning, but said there were "no notable casualties".

The airstrike was a "proportionate military response" to a rocket attack on an airfield in the Kurdish region's capital of Irbil that killed a contractor from the Philippines and wounded several others, including a US service member and four American contractors.

A deadly rocket attack in December 2019 kicked off a series of escalations that culminated with the drone strike in Baghdad and Tehran's launch of over a dozen ballistic missiles targeting al Asad and the airfield in Irbil.

U.S. troops in Iraq significantly decreased their presence in the country previous year under the Trump administration.

Latest News