Iraqi military base housing US troops targeted in yet another rocket attack

An aerial photo of the Ain al-Asad airbase, located in the desert of Iraq's western Anbar province. (Photo: Archive)
An aerial photo of the Ain al-Asad airbase, located in the desert of Iraq's western Anbar province. (Photo: Archive)

ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) - The spokesperson for the US-led Coalition to Defeat ISIS said on Monday that three rockets that day had targeted Ain al-Asad airbase, an Iraqi facility in western Anbar province that hosts US contractors and Coalition forces in western Iraq,

“At approx. 2:45 PM local time,”  read a statement by Col. Wayne Marotto, the base “was attacked by three rockets,” he told Kurdistan 24. 

“The rockets landed on the base perimeter, he added. “There are no injuries and damage is being assessed.”

So far, no group has claimed responsibility for the incident, but the United States and multiple other domestic and international observers have regularly accused Iranian-backed militias of Iraq's Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF) of being behind such attacks.

Two military bases—Erbil and Ain al-Asad—host the vast majority of US forces in Iraq and the Kurdistan Region. Over the course of 2020, the Coalition has withdrawn its troops additional smaller bases to concentrate in those two facilities, as the national mission of the Coalition shifts from one based on combat to the role of supporting the Iraqi military and Kurdish Peshmerga forces in the conflict.

Iranian-backed militias have increasingly targeted these Coalition-affiliated bases in Iraq with rockets and suicide drones.

PMF militias hostile to the US presence in Iraq have lately been using more sophisticated weaponry than in previous years, including armed drones.

Read More: Pro-Iran militias using ‘more sophisticated weapons’ against US forces in Iraq

On June 26, three unmanned aerial vehicles carried out an attack on the autonomous Kurdistan Region of Iraq that was condemned by the United States Consulate General in Erbil, which called it "a clear violation of Iraq's sovereignty." 

Thousands of PMF fighters and several Iraqi government officials gathered in Baghdad on Tuesday for the funeral parade of four PMF militiamen killed in US airstrikes in Iraq two days earlier.

Read More: Iraqi militias hold funeral for 4 members killed in US strike

The US Department of Defense said it struck three sites around the Iraqi-Syrian border manned by two PMF militias, known as Kataib Hizbollah and Kataib Sayyid al-Shuhadam. According to a statement, the locations were used both for staging operations and transferring weaponry and drones.

Editing by John J. Catherine