American forces came under attack in Iraq early Wednesday.
The attack struck the Ain al-Asad airbase in Anbar province, which hosts U.S., coalition and Iraqi forces, according to Reuters.
CBS News reported that a civilian contractor died due to a heart attack during the rocket attack but there were no casualties among U.S. or coalition troops. Details about the contractor’s nationality were not immediately available.
About 2,000 U.S. troops were at the base.
— FJ (@Natsecjeff) March 3, 2021
#Iran Strikes #US in #Iraq
– Ain-al Assad Airbase (hosting International Coalition)
– March 3 c. 7:20 am
– Iraqi SF leading response/investigation
– 10 IDF rockets
OIR Spokesman Col. Wayne Marotto https://t.co/bN50n0t3pI pic.twitter.com/VUO5yG2M2d
— Adrienne Shaw (@rien4djri) March 3, 2021
Al-Asad base in Iraq attacked with rockets after being targeted by Iran – A mysterious Twitter user who often reports Iranian-backed threats and attacks before they happen wrote on February 21 that 107mm rockets might be used against the base. https://t.co/QgSZbgSJND
— Sharon K. Gilbert (@sharonkgilbert) March 3, 2021
Maj. Gen. Tahseen al-Khafaji of the Iraqi security forces told NBC News the attack happened at 7:30 a.m. local time.
Last week, President Joe Biden, who had criticized former President Donald Trump for ordering attacks in Syria, sent U.S. jets to attack a site on the Syria side of the Iraq-Syria border. The strike was in retaliation for attacks by Iran-backed militia forces on bases in Iraq. One U.S. contractor was killed in those attacks.
After the U.S. strike, the Combined Joint Task Force-Operation Inherent Resolve has upped the threat level for U.S. forces in Iraq.
Col. Wayne Marotto said 10 rockets struck Ain al-Asad airbase in Anbar province and that Iraqi security forces were leading an investigation into the incident. https://t.co/wtWoWnBqbY
— USA TODAY (@USATODAY) March 3, 2021
No claim of responsibility for the attack was made as of early Wednesday, and Iraqi officials said it was unclear who launched the rockets.
Reuters reported that up to 13 rockets were launched at the base from a location about five miles away.
The rocket launcher was found in the al-Bayader agricultural area near the town of al-Baghdadi, which is northwest of Baghdad, according to CNN.
It said the pro-Shiite group Sabereen news published images on Telegram showing a rocket launcher that it claimed was the one that attacked the base, but the claim could not be verified.
The base hit Wednesday was the same one attacked by Iran-supported militia groups in 2020 in response to the killing of Iranian Gen. Qasem Soleimani.
The attack comes as Pope Francis prepares to visit Iraq. The pope will be in Iraq from Friday through Sunday.
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