The Iraqi coalition, led by the United States, said that at least 10 rockets were aimed at a military base in western Iraq that houses American forces.
Coalition spokesperson Colonel Wayne Malotto said that the rocket attacked the Ain al-Asad Air Force Base in Anbar Province at 7:20 am. No one claimed responsibility for the attack.
The Iraqi military issued a statement saying that the attack did not cause major losses, and the security forces have found a launch pad for the rocket. An Iraqi military official discussed the attack with the media on condition of anonymity, which was discovered in the Baghdadi area of Anbar.
This was the first attack since the United States aimed at Iranian militia targets along the Iraq-Syrian border last week, killing a militia and igniting the possibility that a series of tit-for-tat attacks escalated last year may be repeated. Worry finally reached its peak. In the U.S. drone strike, the Iranian General Qassim Soleimani outside Baghdad Airport was killed.
The base targeted by Wednesday’s attack was the same base that Iran hit with a missile in January last year in retaliation for the killing of Soleimani. Dozens of American soldiers were injured in the strike and suffered concussions.
The British ambassador to Iraq, Stephen Hickey, condemned the attack, saying it undermined the ongoing struggle with the Islamic State group. He wrote on Twitter: “At the invitation of the Iraqi government, coalition forces are fighting Daesh in Iraq.” “These terrorist attacks disrupted the battle with Daesh and destabilized Iraq.”
Denmark, which has military bases like the United States and Britain, said that Ain Assad’s combined forces are helping the country achieve stability and security.
The Danish Minister of Foreign Affairs Yep Kofferd said on Twitter: “The despicable attack on the Ain Assad base in Iraq is totally unacceptable.” The Danish Armed Forces said that the two Danes who were in the camp at the time of the attack No one was hurt.
The attack on Wednesday occurred two days before Pope Francis was scheduled to visit Iraq, a long-awaited trip that included Baghdad, the southern and northern Iraqi cities of Erbil.
Last week, the United States launched a strike on the border in response to a series of rocket attacks against the United States, including the killing of a joint contractor from the Philippines outside Erbil Airport.
The Pentagon stated that after that attack, the strike was an “appropriate military response” after consulting alliance partners.
Malotto said that Iraqi security forces are leading an investigation into the attack on Al-Assad.
Last year, under the leadership of the Trump administration, the US military in Iraq drastically reduced the number of troops stationed in the country. The troops were evacuated from several Iraqis across the country and consolidated mainly in Ain Assad and Baghdad.
During the inauguration of President Donald Trump, frequent rocket attacks on the solid green area of the U.S. Embassy frustrated the administration, leading to the embassy’s closure and the threat of escalating strikes.
Associated Press writer Jan M. Olsen, based in Copenhagen, Denmark, contributed to this report.