US Base in Iraq Reportedly Targeted With Rocket Artillery

© AP Photo / Nasser NasserThis aerial photo taken from a helicopter shows Ain al-Asad air base in the western Anbar desert, Iraq, Sunday, Dec. 29, 2019.
This aerial photo taken from a helicopter shows Ain al-Asad air base in the western Anbar desert, Iraq, Sunday, Dec. 29, 2019. - Sputnik International, 1920, 01.05.2022
The Pentagon formally ended its combat mission in Iraq in late 2021, rebranding the remaining 2,500 troops in the country as “trainers and advisors”. Shia militias formed in 2014 to fight Daesh (ISIS)* have demanded the total withdrawal of US forces, threatening to shell American bases until the last US troops vacate Iraqi soil.
At least two rockets fell near a base in Anbar Province, western Iraq containing US troops on Saturday, security sources have told AFP.

“Two rockets fell outside the Iraqi base of Ain al-Asad”, the sources said. A coalition source told the news agency that there were “no coalition personnel injuries” to report, and that there was “no impact on the installation” itself.

Al-Muqawama al-Dawliya, (lit. "The International Resistance"), a Shia paramilitary group formed in early 2021, claimed responsibility for the attack on Telegram.
Sabereen News, a Telegram channel affiliated with the Iraqi Popular Mobilisation Forces, reported that at least four BM-21 Grad rockets were launched at the base, with two falling outside the facility.
Situated about 160 km west of Baghdad, the Ain al-Asad Air Base has been targeted repeatedly in recent weeks due to the presence of US troops at the facility. Last month, the base was attacked by drones, with US C-RAM air defence systems shooting them down.
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The attack followed a separate rocket artillery or RPG strike on the al-Taji base north of Baghdad on 26 April. No casualties were reported and no group claimed responsibility in that incident.
In neighbouring Syria, four US troops received minor injuries after rockets struck two support buildings at the illegal Green Village base in the country’s east in early April. The same base was attacked in January, with eight rockets landing inside the perimeter. US forces have no international mandate to operate in Syria, and the Damascus government has repeatedly demanded that Washington end its illegal occupation of the country’s oil and food-rich northeast.
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Attacks targeting US forces in Iraq jumped dramatically following the January 2020 assassination of Iran's Revolutionary Guards Quds Force commander Qasem Soleimani in a US drone strike in Baghdad. The Iranian commander spent years coordinating Tehran’s assistance to Iraqi and Syrian forces fighting Daesh, al-Qaeda, and other terrorist groups between 2012 and 2017. His killing led Iraq’s parliament to issue a resolution demanding the withdrawal of US forces from the country, with the Trump administration agreeing to a slow, creeping exit – removing about half of the estimated 5,000 US troops there before the Republican left office in January 2021. The Biden administration signed an agreement with Baghdad in July 2021 to formally "end the US combat mission" in Iraq by the end of the year, but has not implemented any further withdrawals, with American forces simply rebranded as having an advisory and training role.
In March, outgoing Central Command chief Frank McKenzie said US forces would likely stay in the country for years to come to "strengthen" Iraq’s sovereignty.
The US and a small "Coalition of the Willing" invaded Iraq in March 2003 in search of non-existent weapons of mass destruction, sparking regional chaos and turning Iraq into a failed state which eventually gave rise to Daesh. As many as one million people, mostly civilians, were killed in the Iraq War, among them over 4,800 US and British troops.
* A terrorist group outlawed in Russia and many other countries.
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