It was the first attack since the United States struck Iran-aligned militia targets along the Iraqi-Syrian border last week, killing a militiaman and stoking fears of a possible repeat of ‘a series of tit-for-tat attacks that escalated last year, culminating. during the US drone attack that killed Iranian General Qassim Soleimani outside Baghdad airport.
Wednesday’s attack targeted the same base where Iran struck with a barrage of missiles in January last year in retaliation for Soleimani’s murder. Dozens of American servicemen were injured and suffered concussions during the strike.
British Ambassador to Iraq Stephen Hickey condemned the attack, saying it undermined the ongoing struggle against ISIS. “Coalition forces are in Iraq to fight Daesh at the invitation of the Iraqi government,” he tweeted, using the Arabic acronym for Daesh. “These terrorist attacks undermine the fight against Daesh and destabilize Iraq.”
Denmark, which like the United States and Britain also has troops at the base, said coalition forces in Ain al-Asad are helping bring stability and security to the country.
“The despicable attacks on the Ain al-Assad base in #Iraq are totally unacceptable,” Danish Foreign Minister Jeppe Kofod tweeted. The Danish armed forces said two Danes, who were in the camp at the time of the attack, are unharmed.
Wednesday’s attack comes two days before Pope Francis travels to Iraq on a highly anticipated trip that will include Baghdad, southern Iraq and the northern city of Irbil.
Last week’s U.S. strike along the border was in response to a wave of rocket attacks targeting the U.S. presence, including one that killed a Philippine coalition contractor outside of the U.S. Irbil airport.
After the attack, the Pentagon declared the strike a “proportionate military response” taken after consultation with coalition partners.
Marotto said Iraqi security forces were investigating the attack on Ain al-Assad.
US troops in Iraq significantly reduced their presence in the country last year under the Trump administration. Forces withdrew from several Iraqis based across the country to regroup mainly in Ain al-Asad and Baghad.
Frequent rocket attacks targeting the heavily walled Green Zone, home to the United States Embassy, during President Donald Trump’s tenure frustrated the administration, resulting in threats to close the embassy and strike action. ‘climbing.