BAGHDAD (Dispatches) – A rocket round has struck Ain Al-Asad Air Base in Iraq which houses American troops, a U.S. army spokesman said on Monday.
“Initial report: At 1335 local time, Ain Al-Asad Air Base (AAAB) was attacked by one rocket round. No injuries reported. Damage is being assessed. The attack is under investigation,” Wayne Marotto said. “Each attack against the GoI, KRG and Coalition undermines the authority of Iraqi institutions, the rule of law and Iraqi national sovereignty.”
There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack.
Overall attacks against American troops across Iraq have surged. Earlier this month, the Ain al-Asad air base came under a drone attack, damaging a hangar for military aircraft.
Ain Al-Asad Air Base, located north of the capital of Baghdad, is the only base in the country still hosting foreign troops.
Early last year, the Iraqi parliament voted to end the presence of all foreign forces in the country in response to Washington’s policies in the country.
In a related development, the U.S. military commander in the Middle East has openly expressed worries over armed drones launched by popular mobilization forces in Iraq.
Marine Gen. Frank McKenzie said the drones were difficult to detect and destroy, and he admitted the U.S. was struggling to deal with them. Finding better ways to counter such attacks was a top priority, he said.
“We’re working very hard to find technical fixes that would allow us to be more effective against drones,” McKenzie said. Efforts were underway to look for ways to cut command and control links between a drone and its operator, improve radar sensors to quickly identify the threat as it approached, and find effective ways to bring them down.
“We’re open to all kinds of things,” he said. “The army is working it very hard. Still, I don’t think we’re where we want to be.”
An armed drone targeted U.S.-led coalition forces near a northern Iraq airport in April, causing a large fire and damage to a building.
McKenzie visited Iraq and Syria on Thursday and Friday last week. For security reasons, there was a news blackout on his visit until Saturday.