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U.S. forces: Rockets hit airbase in Iraq hosting U.S. troops

It was the primary assault for the reason that U.S. struck Iran-aligned militia targets alongside the Iraq-Syria border final week, killing killed one militiaman and stoking fears of a doable repeat of a sequence of tit-for-tat assaults that escalated final yr, culminating in the U.S. drone strike that killed Iranian Gen. Qassim Soleimani outdoors the Baghdad airport.

Wednesday’s assault focused the identical base the place Iran struck with a barrage of missiles in January final yr in retaliation for the killing of Soleimani. Dozens of U.S. service members have been injured, struggling concussions in that strike.

British Ambassador to Iraq Stephen Hickey condemned the assault, saying it undermined the continuing battle towards the Islamic State group. “Coalition forces are in Iraq to battle Daesh on the invitation of the Iraqi authorities,” he tweeted, utilizing the Arabic acronym for IS. “These terrorist assaults undermine the battle towards Daesh and destabilize Iraq.”

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Denmark, which just like the U.S. and Britain additionally has troops on the base, stated coalition forces at Ain al-Asad have been serving to to carry stability and safety to the nation.

“Despicable assaults towards Ain al-Asad base in #Iraq are fully unacceptable,” Danish Overseas Minister Jeppe Kofod tweeted. The Danish armed forces stated two Danes, who have been in the camp on the time of the assault, are unhurt.

Wednesday’s assault comes two days earlier than Pope Francis’ is scheduled to go to Iraq in a a lot anticipated journey that may embody Baghdad, southern Iraq and in the northern metropolis of Irbil.

Final week’s U.S. strike alongside the border had been in response to a spate of rocket assaults that focused the American presence, together with one which killed a coalition contractor from the Philippines outdoors the Irbil airport.

After that assault, the Pentagon stated the strike was a “proportionate army response” taken after consulting coalition companions.

Marotto stated the Iraqi safety forces have been main an investigation into the assault on Ain al-Asad.

U.S. troops in Iraq considerably decreased their presence in the nation final yr below the Trump administration. The forces withdrew from a number of Iraqi primarily based throughout the nation to consolidate mainly in Ain al-Asad and Baghad.

Frequent rocket assaults concentrating on the closely fortified Inexperienced Zone, which homes the U.S. Embassy, throughout President Donald Trump’s time in workplace pissed off the administration, resulting in threats of embassy closure and escalatory strikes.

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