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Katyusha rocket targets K-1 military base housing US forces in northern Iraq

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
This picture, taken on November 9, 2016, shows US soldiers moving through the Qayara West Coalition base in Qayara, some 50 kilometers south of Mosul, Iraq. (Photo by AP)

A rocket attack has hit an air base north of the capital Baghdad, which houses the US-led coalition forces that purportedly fight Daesh Takfiri terrorist group.

Iraq's military and a US security source told AFP on Thursday night that K-1 Air Base in the country’s oil-rich northern province of Kirkuk had been targeted by a Katyusha rocket, but reported that there were no casualties.

According to Iraqi security sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to brief the media, the rocket hit an open area on the base at around 8:45 p.m. local time (1745 GMT).

Security forces reportedly found the launch pad from which the rocket was fired, with 11 more rockets still inside.

An Iraqi security source told AFP that the launch pad was found about five kilometers (three miles) from the base.

It was the first attack on the K1 base since December 27 last year, when a volley of rockets killed an American contractor and wounded several military personnel.

Shortly after then attack, the US Department of Defense, Pentagon, issued a statement, announcing that it had carried out what it called "defensive strikes" in Iraq and Syria against the facilities of Iraqi Popular Mobilization Units (PMU), commonly known by the Arabic name Hashd al-Sha’abi.

The Pentagon added that it had targeted three locations of the Iraqi fighters in Iraq and two in Syria.

It said the raids targeted weapon storage facilities and command control locations, claiming that the bombings were in response to attacks targeting American forces in Iraq.  

On January 14, Iraq's military announced in a statement that Camp Taji, situated approximately 27 kilometers (17 miles) north of the capital Baghdad, had been targeted by Katyusha rockets but reported that there were no casualties.

The statement did not say how many rockets had hit the military base, with no group claiming responsibility for the attack.

A volley of Katyusha rockets had landed on al-Balad airbase, located some 80 kilometers north of Baghdad, two day earlier, wounding two Iraqi officers and two airmen.

On January 5, Iraqi lawmakers unanimously approved a bill demanding the withdrawal.

Later on January 9, former Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi called on the United States to dispatch a delegation to Baghdad tasked with formulating a mechanism for the move.

According to a statement released by the Iraqi premier’s office, Abdul-Mahdi “requested that delegates be sent to Iraq to set the mechanisms to implement the parliament's decision for the secure withdrawal of (foreign) forces from Iraq” in a phone call with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

The 78-year-old politician said at the time that Iraq rejects violation of its sovereignty, particularly the US military's violation of Iraqi airspace in the airstrike that assassinated Lieutenant General Soleimani, Muhandis and their companions.

The US State Department bluntly rejected the request the following day.

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