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20 Jan, 2024 19:08

US troops injured in attack on Iraq airbase

A member of the Iraqi security forces was also badly injured in the attack, reports say
US troops injured in attack on Iraq airbase

Several American troops sustained minor injuries and one member of the Iraqi security forces was badly wounded in an attack on Saturday on a military base in western Iraq used by US-led coalition forces, officials have said.

More than a dozen explosive projectiles were fired at the Ain al-Asad airbase from inside the Anbar province, an unnamed Iraqi police official told AFP. The source added that the base “was targeted by 15 rockets” but that 13 were destroyed by air-defense systems, and “two fell on the airbase.” 

A US official, speaking to the Reuters agency on condition of anonymity, confirmed that the base had been attacked and said that preliminary investigations suggested it may have been struck by ballistic missiles. The American official added that further assessments may reveal the facility to have been impacted by rockets and that investigations to determine this are ongoing.

A second US official also confirmed that the attack was carried out from inside Iraq, Reuters said, and that damage assessment is underway between coalition and Iraqi forces.

An unknown number of US troops were reported to have sustained minor injuries, while a US official said that one member of the Iraqi security forces had been badly injured.

Saturday’s attack on the Ain al-Asad base comes amid deepening tensions in the Middle East more than three months after Hamas’ cross-border attack into Israel, which prompted the Israel-Hamas war.

Since the onset of the conflict, US military forces have been attacked in Iraq on at least 58 occasions, Reuters said, and another 83 times in Syria by militants backed by Iran. Most of these attacks use rockets or one-way attack drones.

US and UK forces have struck Houthi targets in Yemen in recent days, in response to a wave of attacks on vessels in the Red Sea carried out by the Iran-backed militant group.

The US currently has about 2,500 troops stationed in Iraq and another 900 in Syria as part of Washington’s efforts to assist local forces in preventing a resurgence of the Islamic State group, which ten years ago seized large sections of both countries before its eventual defeat.

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