Militia rockets target Iraqi bases where Americans are located
BAGHDAD - Rockets hit near US forces and contractors in Iraq on Wednesday, including an Iraq’s Balad airbase north of Baghdad and a military base at Baghdad International Airport, the Iraqi army and security officials said.
The army reported at least three rockets hit Balad air base, where US contractors are based.
Security officials told Reuters at least one rocket struck shortly afterwards near the airport at a base used by US military aircraft.
Five rockets Wednesday evening targeted Iraq’s Balad airbase, with two of the projectiles falling, without causing casualties, near an area used by US contractors a security official said.
“There were no victims or damage,” the official said.
Balad airbase, north of Baghdad, is used by US company Sallyport to service F-16 fighter jets flown by Iraq’s air force and has repeatedly been targeted by rocket fire.
Another US company, Lockheed Martin, withdrew its staff from the base last month amid concerns about the safety of its personnel.
At least three foreign subcontractors and one Iraqi subcontractor have been wounded in attacks on Balad.
The US routinely blames such attacks, which also regularly target US interests at other installations, including Baghdad airport, on Iran-backed factions.
US troops are in Iraq as part of a military coalition that was established to fight the Islamic State (ISIS) extremist group, a campaign that Iraq’s government declared won in late 2017.
The rocket attacks are seen as a way to pressure Washington into removing all its remaining personnel and to flex Iran’s muscle through its proxies in Iraq.
In mid-April, pro-Iran fighters sent an explosives-packed drone crashing into Arbil airport in the first reported use of such a weapon against a base housing US troops in Iraq.