Middle East Eye

  In Middle East Eye

Rockets hit Iraqi military base north of Baghdad, miss US troops

A rocket attack late Saturday north of Baghdad hit an Iraqi base but missed US-led coalition troops stationed there, Iraq’s military and a coalition official said.

A statement from Iraq’s security forces said the rockets landed but did not cause any damage to the Taji base, according to AFP.

Iraq and US affirm commitment to American troop withdrawal.

Reuters cited state media as reporting that two Katyusha rockets fell in Iraq’s Taji base, which hosts US-led coalition troops, causing no casualties.

A US-led coalition official confirmed the projectiles fell outside the coalition’s part of the base.

While there was no immediate claim of responsibility, it was the third attack in a week to target US troops or diplomats.

Two rockets struck the grounds of the vast Baghdad airport complex on Monday and an unguided rocket hit close to the fortified US embassy two days later.

The attacks follow several weeks of relative respite from more than two dozen similar incidents in recent months.

Since October, at least 30 attacks have targeted American troops or diplomats, severely straining ties between Baghdad and Washington.

Tensions reached boiling point in January when the US killed Iranian general Qasem Soleimani and Iraqi commander Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis in a drone strike in Baghdad.

Washington has accused armed groups backed by Iran, Iraq’s powerful neighbour and the US’s top regional foe, for the repeated rocket attacks. It has also blamed the Iraqi government for not doing enough to protect US installations.

Washington and Baghdad are hoping for a reset after opening a strategic dialogue this week that aims to better define their military, economic and cultural relationship.

As part of the talks, the US pledged to continue reducing in-country troop levels, which numbered about 5,200 last year.

Iraq, meanwhile, vowed to “protect the military personnel” operating on its territory as part of the US-led coalition fighting remnants of the Islamic State group. Source