According to security sources, three rockets dropped into a base at the Iraqi capital’s airport housing US troops on Friday, in the recent attack timed to coincide with conflicts between Baghdad’s allies Tehran and Washington.
The projectiles struck an area of the airbase occupied by Iraqi troops, who share it with troops deployed by Washington as part of the US-led anti-jihadist coalition.
According to the source, one Iraqi soldier was injured.
It is the second attack in less than a week on US interests in Iraq. On Sunday, five rockets were launched at another airbase north of Baghdad, injuring three Iraqi soldiers and two foreign contractors. There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the strike, but Washington routinely blames such attacks on its troops and diplomats on Iran-linked Iraqi factions.
Since US President Joe Biden took office in January, there have been 23 bomb or rocket attacks on American interests in Iraq, including troops, the Baghdad embassy, and Iraqi supply convoys to foreign forces.
Innumerable strikes happened in 2019 under former US President Donald Trump’s administration.
An explosives-laden drone slammed into Iraq’s Arbil airport in mid-April, marking the first reported use of such a weapon against a base used by US-led coalition troops in the country, according to officials. In February, more than a dozen rockets were launched at the same airport’s military complex.
Two foreign contractors, one Iraqi contractor, and eight Iraqi civilians have been killed in the attacks in the last year. The operations are sometimes claimed by obscure groups, which experts say are fronts for Iranian-backed organizations that have long been present in Iraq.
Qais al-Khazali, a senior pro-Iranian figure in the state-sponsored Hashed al-Shaabi paramilitary force, recently declared that the “resistance” was carrying out attacks and would intensify them “unless the US withdraws all combat forces from across Iraq.”
Pro-Iran groups have increased their rhetoric, vowing to intensify attacks to drive out the “occupying” US forces, and there have been almost daily attacks on coalition supply convoys across the predominantly Shiite south.
The US committed in April to withdrawing all remaining combat forces from Iraq, though the two countries did not specify a timetable for what would be the US’s second withdrawal since the 2003 invasion that toppled Saddam Hussein.