US Military Base in Iraq comes under severe rockets attack

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US Military Base in Iraq comes under severe rockets attack

BAGHDAD - At least 10 rockets hit a military base in western Iraq hosting US-led coalition troops on Wednesday, security sources said, two days before Pope Francis’s historic visit to the country.

The Ain al-Assad base hosts Iraqi forces as well as troops from the US-led coalition helping Iraq fight remnants of the Islamic State group.

Coalition spokesman Colonel Wayne Marotto confirmed that 10 rockets hit the base at 7:20 am (0420 GMT), but did not provide details on any casualties.

Iraqi security forces said 10 "Grad-type rockets" hit the sprawling Ain al-Assad base on Wednesday morning, but said there were "no notable casualties".

Western security sources told AFP that the rockets were Iranian-made Arash models, which are 122mm artillery rockets and heavier than those seen in other attacks on Western targets in Iraq.

Dozens of rocket attacks and roadside bombs targeted Western security, military and diplomatic sites in Iraq in 2020, with Iraqi and Western military sources blaming hardline pro-Iran factions.

They came to a near-complete halt in October following a truce with the hardliners, but they have resumed at a quickening pace over the past three weeks.

In mid-February, rockets targeted US-led coalition troops in the Kurdish regional capital Arbil, a US military contracting company working north of the capital and the US embassy in Baghdad. -APP/AFP