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Rocket targets Iraqi base hosting occupying US troops: Security source

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 file photo taken on January 13, 2020 shows a view inside Ain al-Asad military airbase housing US and other foreign troops in the western Iraqi province of Anbar. (Photo by AFP)

A rocket attack has reportedly hit an air base hosting the occupying US troops in Iraq’s western province of Anbar, the latest in a series of assaults that have targeted American occupation forces in the Arab country over the past few months.

An unnamed security force said a Katyusha rocket had landed at the Ain al-Asad Air Base, located about 160 kilometers (100 miles) west of the capital Baghdad, on Sunday, without causing casualties.

No group has claimed responsibility for the attack yet and there has been no immediate report on any possible damage.

The latest raid comes ten days after the United States said it was offering a reward of up to $3 million for information on attacks against Americans in Iraq, the source added.

Iraqi military bases housing American forces come under back-to-back rocket attacks in the north-central province of Salahuddin and the vicinity of the Baghdad International Airport.

The incidents have not been claimed by any party or individual yet, but the US usually blames such attacks on Iraqi anti-terror resistance groups.

Iraqi news sources have reported that Ain al-Asad’s Patriot missile defense system was destroyed in a drone attack which was carried out against the military base several weeks ago.

Back on May 8, the Ain al-Asad military base was attacked by an unmanned aerial surveillance system, and a hangar for military aircraft was damaged as a result.

The attack came nearly a week after the Iraqi army announced in a statement that two rockets had landed inside the same Iraqi air base. No further information was provided.

Also on May 24, a barrage of rockets reportedly landed in the US-run Ain al-Asad Air Base. 

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.

The US-led military coalition waded into Iraq in 2014 under the pretext of fighting Daesh. It retains its presence there, although on a smaller scale, despite the fact that Baghdad and its allies vanquish the Takfiri terrorist group in late 2017.

Last January, the Iraqi parliament overwhelmingly passed a law ordering the expulsion of all the US-led forces. The legislation was a response to a US drone strike that martyred senior Iranian General Qassem Soleimani and his Iraqi trenchmate Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, in Baghdad.

The attacks on American targets have grown in number and frequency since the assassinations that angered the Iraqis.

Baghdad and Washington have in recent months held several rounds of strategic talks on the withdrawal of US troops from Iraq.

All resistance factions within the war-torn Arab nation agreed in October 2020 to suspend attacks on US occupation forces provided that the government presents a timetable for their withdrawal.

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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