U.S. personnel suffered minor injuries and a member of the Iraqi security forces was seriously injured in an attack on Iraq's Ain al-Asad air base on Saturday, a U.S. official said.
The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said initial reports suggested the base had been hit by ballistic missiles, but he left open the possibility that the base had been hit by missiles. An assessment is ongoing, the official said.
Two security sources in Iraq and a government source said the base was hit by multiple rockets fired from Iraq.
A second US official said the attack was carried out by militants from Iraq.
Since the Israel-Hamas war began in October, the U.S. military has been attacked at least 58 times in Iraq and another 83 times in Syria by Iran-backed militants, mostly with a mix of missiles and disposable attack drones. U.S. Embassy security guards set off stun grenades to disperse demonstrators and militia fighters as they protested against airstrikes on Hashd al-Shaabi (paramilitary forces) bases outside the embassy in Baghdad, Iraq, on January 1, 2020. (Source: THAIER AL-SUDANI /Portal)
The militants want to impose a price on the United States for its support of Israel against the Iranian-backed Palestinian militant group Hamas.
US troops in Iraq
The U.S. has deployed 900 troops in Syria and 2,500 in Iraq to advise and support local forces trying to prevent a resurgence of the Islamic State, which captured large swaths of both countries in 2014 before being defeated. Advertising
Iraq is deeply concerned that it could become a battlefield between the United States, Israel and Iran.
Iraqi Prime Minister Mohammed Shia al-Sudani's office announced steps to evacuate US forces following a US drone strike in Baghdad that drew government condemnation. The Pentagon said the attack killed a militia leader responsible for recent attacks on U.S. personnel.
The Pentagon said it had not been formally informed of plans to end the U.S. troop presence in the country and said its troops were deployed to Iraq at the invitation of the government in Baghdad.
Iran on Monday attacked Erbil, the capital of Iraq's semi-autonomous Kurdistan region, with ballistic missiles in what it said was an attack on an Israeli spy headquarters – claims disputed by Iraqi and Iraqi Kurdish officials.