Iraq: Taji military base hit by rockets for second time in a week | News | DW | 14.03.2020
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Iraq: Taji military base hit by rockets for second time in a week

Several Iraqi air force personnel were injured in the rocket strike, north of Baghdad. The incident follows US airstrikes on an Iran-backed militia that Washington says is targeting its forces.

A barrage of rockets hit a base housing US and other coalition troops north of Baghdad, Iraqi security officials said Saturday.

The attack at Camp Taji happened just days after a similar incident killed three servicemen, including two Americans.

Iraq's military said 33 rockets were used in the second attack and that several Iraqi air defense force servicemen were injured.

The base lies some 20 kilometers (12 miles) north of the capital.

Read more: Women and men stick together in Iraq after cleric al-Sadr criticizes protesters' 'immorality'

Surprising daytime attack

Saturday's attack was unusual because it occurred during the day. Previous assaults on military bases housing US troops typically occurred overnight.

On Friday, the US retaliated to Wednesday's rocket attack with airstrikes on arms depots it said were used by hardline members of the Kataib Hezbollah, the Iran-backed militia group believed to be responsible.

However, Iraq's military said those airstrikes killed five security force members and a civilian.

Longstanding antagonism between the United States and Iran has mostly played out on Iraqi soil in recent months.

This week's attacks follow a rocket strike on another Iraqi base in December that killed a US contractor.

In response, Washington launched airstrikes targeting Kataib Hezbollah, which in turn led to protests at the US Embassy in Baghdad, demanding the withdrawal of US troops from Iraq.

A US drone strike in Baghdad then killed Iranian General Qassem Soleimani, a top commander responsible for expeditionary operations across the Middle East.

Iran struck back with a ballistic missile attack on US forces in Iraq, the Islamic Republic's most direct assault on the US since the 1979 seizing of the US Embassy in Tehran.

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mm/jcg (AFP, AP, Reuters)

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