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Rockets, drone strikes hit US troops in Iraq, Syria

This picture taken on July 8, 2021 shows a view of the Ain al-Assad air base hosting US forces in Iraq in the western Anbar province, a day after fourteen rockets were fired at the base. [AYMAN HENNA/AFP via Getty Images]
This picture taken on July 8, 2021 shows a view of the Ain al-Assad air base hosting US forces in Iraq in the western Anbar province, a day after fourteen rockets were fired at the base. [AYMAN HENNA/AFP via Getty Images]

US diplomats and troops in Iraq and Syria were targeted in three rocket and drone attacks over the past 24 hours, officials said yesterday, including at least 14 rockets hitting an Iraqi air base hosting US forces, wounding two American service members, Reuters reports.

While there were no immediate claims of responsibility for the attacks, analysts believe they were part of a campaign by Iranian-backed militias.

Iraqi militia groups aligned with Iran vowed to retaliate after US strikes on the Iraqi-Syrian border killed four of their members last month.

Two people were slightly wounded in the rocket attack on the Ain Al-Asad air base in western Iraq, said coalition spokesman US Army Colonel Wayne Marotto. The rockets landed on the base and its perimeter. He said earlier that three people were wounded.

US officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the two personnel injured were American service members. One suffered a concussion and the other had minor cuts, one of the officials added.

Two rockets were fired at the US Embassy in Baghdad's Green Zone early today, Iraqi security sources told Reuters.

The embassy's anti-rocket system diverted one of the rockets, said one of the sources – a security official whose office is inside the Green Zone. The second rocket fell near the zone's perimeter, security officials said.

READ: US provides $27m to help Iraq tackle financial crimes 

Sirens blared from the embassy compound inside the zone, which houses government buildings and foreign missions, the sources said.

In Syria, the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) said no damage was done by a drone attack on the Al Omar oil field in an eastern area bordering Iraq where US forces came under rocket fire but escaped injury on 28 June.

The Pentagon said a drone had been brought down in eastern Syria and that no US service members had been injured and there had not been any damage.

Iraqi army officials said the pace of recent attacks against bases hosting US forces with rockets and explosive-laden drones was unprecedented.

Iraqi military sources said a rocket launcher fixed on the back of a truck was used in yesterday's attack and was found on nearby farmland set on fire.

On Tuesday, a drone attacked Erbil airport in northern Iraq, targeting a US base on the airport grounds, Kurdish security sources said.

Three rockets also landed on Ain Al-Asad on Monday without causing casualties.

Iran denies supporting attacks on US forces in Iraq and Syria and condemned American air strikes on Iranian-backed groups.

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Asia & AmericasIranIraqMiddle EastNewsSyriaUS
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