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Rocket Attack Hits Base Housing US Troops: Iraq Officials

BAGHDAD—A barrage of rockets hit a base housing U.S. and other coalition troops north of Baghdad, Iraqi security officials said Saturday, just days after a similar attack killed three servicemen, including two Americans.

At least two Iraqi soldiers were wounded in the attack at Camp Taji, according to the Iraqi officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity in line with regulations.

The officials said over a dozen rockets landed inside the base. Some struck the area where coalition forces are based, while others fell on a runway used by Iraqi forces.

The was no immediate comment from the coalition regarding Saturdays attack.

The attack was unusual because it occurred during the day. Previous assaults on military bases housing U.S. troops typically occurred at night.

The previous rocket attack against Camp Taji on Wednesday also killed a British serviceman. It prompted American airstrikes Friday against what U.S. officials said were mainly weapons facilities belonging to Kataib Hezbollah, the Iran-backed militant group believed to be responsible.

Iran-backed Shiite terrorist groups vowed to exact revenge for Fridays U.S. strikes, signalling another cycle of tit-for-tat violence between Washington and Tehran that could play out inside Iraq.

A worker checks the damages at a civilian airport under construction which, according to Iraqi religious authorities, was hit by a U.S. air strike, in the holy Shi'ite city of Kerbala
A worker checks the damages at a civilian airport under construction which, according to Iraqi religious authorities, was hit by a U.S. air strike, in the holy Shi'ite city of Kerbala
A worker checks the damages at a civilian airport under construction which, according to Iraqi religious authorities, was hit by a U.S. air strike, in the holy Shiite city of Kerbala, Iraq, on March 13, 2020. (Alaa al-Marjani/Reuters)

Americas killing of Iraqi security forces might also give Iran-backed militia groups more reason to stage counterattacks against U.S. troops in Iraq, analysts said.

“We cant forget that the PMF is a recognized entity within the Iraqi security forces; they arent isolated from the security forces and often are co-located on the same bases or use the same facilities,” said Sajad Jiyad, a researcher and former managing director of the Bayan Center, a Baghdad-based think tank.

“Now the [Iran-backed] groups who supported the initial strike in Taji, who were the most outspoken, feel obliged, authorized, maybe even legitimized to respond, ostensibly to protect Iraqi sovereignty but really to keep the pressure up on Americans,” he added.

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