Katyusha rocket hits military base at Baghdad airport

BAGHDAD (AP) — A Katyusha rocket struck an Iraqi military base hosting U.S. troops at Baghdad’s international airport on Wednesday, an Iraqi military statement said.

No damage or casualties were reported from the attack, the third in as many days since Monday’s anniversary of a U.S. airstrike that killed top Iranian general Qassim Soleimani in Baghdad two years ago.

The Iraqi military statement said a rocket launcher with one rocket was located in a residential district in western Baghdad. The area has been used in the past by Iran-backed militias to fire rockets at the airport.

On Monday, two armed drones were shot down as they headed toward a facility housing U.S. advisors at Baghdad airport. Two explosives-laden drones targeting an Iraqi military base housing U.S. troops in western Anbar province were destroyed on Tuesday.

The 2020 U.S. drone strike at Baghdad’s airport killed Gen. Qassim Soleimani, who was the head of Iran’s elite Quds Force, and Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, deputy commander of Iran-backed militias in Iraq known as the Popular Mobilization Forces.

Pro-Iran Shiite factions in Iraq have vowed revenge for the killing and have conditioned the end of attacks against the U.S. presence in Iraq on the full exit of American troops from the country.

The U.S.-led coalition formally ended its combat mission supporting Iraqi forces in the ongoing fight against the Islamic State group last month. Some 2,500 troops will remain as the coalition shifts to an advisory mission to continue supporting Iraqi forces.

The top U.S. commander for the Middle East Marine Gen. Frank McKenzie warned in an interview with the Associated Press last month that he expects increasing attacks on U.S. and Iraqi personnel by Iranian-backed militias determined to get American forces out.

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