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Rockets fired at Iraqi air base housing US-led coalition troops

Ten rockets were fired at an Iraqi military base housing US-led coalition troops on Wednesday, the latest in a series of rocket attacks in Iraq with it just days before the visit of the pope in the country.

The rockets targeted Ain Al-Asad air base, northwest of Baghdad, at 7:20 a.m. local time Wednesday (11:20 p.m. Tuesday ET). The attack has been confirmed in a tweet from Colonel Wayne Marotto, military spokesperson for Operation Inherent Resolve, the 83-member coalition to defeat ISIS.

Iraqi security forces are leading the response and investigation, he added.

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Iraqi Security Forces Major General Tahseen al-Khafaji told NBC News that the attack took place at 7:30 a.m. local time (11:30 p.m. ET) and that no casualties or damage were reported. reported to the base. Security forces were investigating the perpetrators of the attack, he added.

Wednesday’s rocket attack follows a U.S. airstrike last week in eastern Syria that killed a fighter in an Iran-backed militia and injured two others, according to the Pentagon.

This operation was the first known use of military force by the Biden administration and was carried out in retaliation for a deadly rocket attack on a US-led coalition base in Irbil in northern Kurdistan l Iraq last month, as well as two other attacks.

The explosion in Irbil on February 15 was the deadliest attack to hit US-led forces in the country for nearly a year, and echoed another attack in December 2019 that sparked a dangerous escalation between Iran and the United States.

NBC News previously reported that Iranian-backed militias were most likely behind the Irbil rocket attack, and the weapons and tactics resembled previous attacks by Iran-linked militias. However, it was not clear whether Iran had encouraged or ordered the rocket attack.

Following the attack on Irbil base, Iraqi Balad air base was the target of rocket fire a few days later, where a US defense company maintains the country’s fighter jets, then two rockets. landed near the US Embassy compound in Baghdad.

The latest rocket attack comes two days before Pope Francis travels to Iraq on what would be the papal first-ever visit to the Middle East.

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