Single rocket hits near Iraqi air base hosting American troops

BAGHDAD — A single rocket struck close to a military base hosting U.S. troops in western Iraq on Monday without causing any injuries, a spokesman for the U.S.-led coalition said.

The rocket struck near Ain al-Asad air base, a sprawling complex in Anbar province, at 1:35 p.m., Col. Wayne Marotto said on Twitter. He said damages were being assessed and an investigation was launched.

An Iraqi security official said the rocket struck close to a village outside the base. The official spoke on condition of anonymity in line with regulations.

Rocket and missile attacks against U.S. installations have been frequent since a Washington-directed strike against top Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani outside Baghdad airport last year. That operation also killed powerful Iraqi militia leader Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis. The attacks have continued since U.S. President Joe Biden assumed office this year.

No one claimed responsibility for Monday’s attack, but U.S. officials have previously blamed Iran-backed Iraqi militia groups for assaults against the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad and other military bases hosting American forces.

In this May 20, 20201, photo, Marine Gen. Frank McKenzie, the top U.S. commander for the Middle East, arrives in Baghdad. (Lolita C. Baldor/AP)

Recent attacks have been more sophisticated with the use of drones. Earlier this month, a drone targeted Ain al-Asad base causing minor damage.

The killing of Soleimani on Iraqi soil sparked the anger of mostly Shiite lawmakers who passed a non-binding resolution calling for the ousting of U.S. forces from the country.

The future of the U.S. ‘s military presence in Iraq has been the focus of strategic talks between Baghdad and Washington, with Shiite militia groups insisting on a timeline for withdrawal.

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