A picture taken on January 13, 2020 during a press tour organized by the US-led coalition to fight the remnants of the Islamic State Group shows a view of the Ain al-Asad military airfield with US and other foreign troops in the western Iraqi province hosts Anbar.
Ayman Henna | AFP | Getty Images
WASHINGTON – The US military announced Wednesday that two people were minor injuries after at least 14 missiles hit an Iraqi base that houses US troops and other international forces.
“At around 12:30 pm local time, Ain Al-Assad Air Base was attacked by 14 rockets. The rockets landed on the base and the perimeter. Defense measures to protect the armed forces were activated,” wrote US Army Colonel Wayne Marotto , Spokesman for Operation Inherent Resolve, in a statement Wednesday.
Marotto added that all U.S. forces have been considered and that the damage to the base is still being assessed.
It was not immediately clear whether the injured were US troops, civilians, or coalition troops. There were no direct statements of responsibility for Wednesday’s missile attack, despite the fact that the attack is part of a recent wave against US forces in Iraq and Syria.
The day before, a drone had attacked Erbil airport in northern Iraq with explosives. US troops occupy a military airfield next to the civil airport. Several missiles and a drone were targeted at Ain al-Asad Air Force Base and the US Embassy in Baghdad, Iraq earlier this week.
The US has previously held Iran-backed militias operating in Iraq and Syria responsible for carrying out such attacks.
President Joe Biden ordered US air strikes in Iraq and Syria last week against facilities used by Iran-backed militias. It was the second time Biden ordered a military response in the region amid fragile diplomatic overtures linked to the 2015 revival of Iran’s nuclear deal.
In February, the US launched air strikes against several facilities in Syria, used by a number of Iran-backed agents, including Kata’ib Hezbollah and Kata’ib Sayyid al-Shuhada. The US air strikes came a week after a missile strike in northern Iraq that killed a civilian contractor and injured nine others, including a US soldier.
But unlike the February strike, the June 27 action targeted infrastructure in both Iraq and Syria. The Iraqi military, on rare occasions, condemned the US attacks as “a blatant and unacceptable violation of Iraqi sovereignty and national security”.
Iran denies US allegations that it supports attacks on US forces in Iraq and Syria.
The missile strikes come amid the Biden administration’s broader reassessment of US foreign policy interests in the Middle East and Central Asia as it withdraws US troops from Afghanistan and seeks diplomatic cooperation with Iran.