News ID: 90026
Publish Date : 08 May 2021 - 22:12
BAGHDAD (Dispatches) -- A drone strike early on Saturday targeted a military base in Iraq that hosts U.S. troops, causing damage to a hangar but no casualties, Iraq’s army and the U.S. military said.
The pre-dawn attack damaged a hangar at the Ain Al-Asad base, tweeted U.S. military spokesman Col. Wayne Marotto. He said the attack was under investigation. An Iraqi military statement also said no losses were reported.
The Security Media Cell, affiliated with the Iraqi prime minister’s office, said an explosives-laden drone had crashed inside the airbase, about 160 km west of the capital Baghdad.
However, Sabereen News, a Telegram news channel associated with Iraq’s Hashd al-Sha’abi, said several rockets had hit Ain al-Asad Air base on Saturday morning.
The report said C-RAM systems as well as Patriot Advanced Capability-2 (PAC-2) missile systems deployed at the base by the U.S. forces failed to intercept the rockets.
No one has claimed responsibility for the attack. The U.S. has blamed anti-terror militia groups for previous attacks, most of them rocket attacks that have targeted the American presence in Baghdad and military bases across Iraq.
Drone strikes are less common. In mid-April, an explosive-laden drone targeted the military section of the airport in Irbil, in Iraq’s northern Kurdish-run region, causing no casualties or damages. That base also hosts U.S. troops.
The Saturday attack came just days after the Iraqi army said two rockets were fired at the same base, in the third such attack in three days and as a U.S. government delegation is visiting the country.
The two rockets fell on an unoccupied segment of the Ain al-Asad airbase, "without causing damage or casualties,” the army said.
The rocket attack followed one against an airbase at Baghdad airport

 housing U.S. troops on Sunday night, and another against Balad airbase, which hosts U.S. contractors, north of the capital on Monday night.
Around 30 rocket or bomb attacks have targeted American interests in Iraq — including troops, the embassy or Iraqi supply convoys to foreign forces — since U.S. President Joe Biden took office in January.
Two foreign contractors, one Iraqi contractor and eight Iraqis have reportedly been killed in the attacks.
Dozens of other attacks were carried out in Iraq from autumn 2019 during the Trump administration. The operations are sometimes claimed by obscure groups.
 The attacks come amid growing resentment against the presence of U.S. troops in Iraq where lawmakers have approved a bill requiring the government to end the presence of all foreign forces.
Last month, Badr al-Ziyadi, a member of the defense and security committee at the Iraqi parliament, called for the eviction of American troops. He told Al-Maalomah news agency that the U.S. seeks to keep its forces in Iraq with no intention of ever withdrawing.  
Two lawmakers with the Fatah (Conquest) Alliance in the Iraqi parliament also warned of U.S. plans for a permanent military presence in Iraq.
The MPs stressed that the Iraqi security forces are capable of protecting the country, and that U.S. combat forces have no role in fighting terrorism in Iraq.
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.

* Comment: