An air base in Iraq’s western province of Anbar housing American troops has come under attack, damaging a hangar for military aircraft.
“This morning at 02:20 [local time] (2320 GMT Friday) Ain al-Asad Air Base was attacked by an unmanned aerial surveillance system. No injuries reported. A hangar was damaged. The attack is under investigation,” Colonel Wayne Marotto, spokesman for Combined Joint Task Force-Operation Inherent Resolve, wrote in a post published on his official Twitter page on Saturday.
The Security Media Cell, affiliated with the Iraqi prime minister's office, also confirmed the attack in a statement.
It said an explosives-laden drone had crashed inside the air base, located about 160 kilometers (100 miles) west of the capital Baghdad, without causing any damage.
This is while Sabereen News, a Telegram news channel associated with Iraqi Popular Mobilization Units – better known by the Arabic word Hashd al-Sha’abi – reported that several rockets had hit Ain al-Asad Air base on Saturday morning.
The report added that C-RAM systems as well as Patriot Advanced Capability-2 (PAC-2) missile systems deployed at the base failed to intercept the rockets.
No group has claimed responsibility for the attack yet, which is the latest in a series of assaults that have targeted US occupation forces over the past few months.
On Tuesday, the Iraqi army announced in a statement that two rockets had landed inside Ain al-Asad military base, but the attack had caused no casualties. No further information was provided.
The Iraqi al-Ahad television channel said rocket sirens went off at the sprawling installation.
The development came only a day after at least six rockets struck the al-Balad Airbase, which houses US forces as well as warplanes and lies 64 kilometers (40 miles) north of Baghdad.
Last week, an airbase similarly housing the United States-led coalition’s forces at Baghdad International Airport came under rocket fire.
The attacks come amid growing anti-US sentiments in Iraq where lawmakers have approved a bill requiring the government to end the presence of all foreign military forces.
Last month, Badr al-Ziyadi, a member of the defense and security committee at the Iraqi parliament, called for the evacuation of American troops. He told Arabic-language al-Maalomah news agency that the US seeks to keep its forces in Iraq with no intention of ever withdrawing.
Two lawmakers with the Fatah (Conquest) Alliance at the legislature also warned of US intentions for a permanent military presence in Iraq.
The MPs stressed that the Iraqi security forces are capable of protecting the country, adding the US combat forces have no role in fighting terrorism in Iraq.
On April 8, Iraq and the US said they had agreed on the eventual withdrawal of US “combat” troops from Iraq, and that the two sides would hold talks to work out the timing.
The mission of US forces is now supposed to be focused on what is claimed to be “training” Iraqi troops to fight Daesh.
Iraqi resistance groups have warned that they will treat the American troops as occupying forces and take up arms against them if they refuse to leave their country.
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