Amid rising tensions between the US and Iran, at least 10 rockets were fired at Iraq's Ain al-Asad airbase on Wednesday that hosts the United States, coalition and Iraqi forces, the Iraqi military said. US-led coalition spokesperson and US Army Colonel Wayne Marotto said the base was targeted around 7:30 am (Iraq time) on Wednesday. However, Iran has not officially confirmed that it targeted the US-led coalition force's base.
This is the second such rocket attack in Iraq in the past month. Notably, it has also happened just two days before Pope Francis is due to visit the war-torn country.
The Pope is scheduled to visit the country from March 5-8. As per the latest information, no casualty has been reported in the rocket attack. The rockets were reportedly fired from a location in western Anbar province, about 8 km from the base.
In a recent similar attack on US-led forces in Iraq on February 16, a civilian contractor was killed and a US service member was injured as a rocket hit a facility in northern Iraq.
The US forces on February 25 launched airstrikes in Syria to target facilities belonging to a powerful Iranian-backed Iraqi armed group, reportedly killing one fighter and wounding several others. Today's airstrikes are seen in the retaliation of these airstrikes.
The US airstrikes were launched after President Joe Biden gave a green signal. "The president is sending an unambiguous message that he's going to act to protect Americans, and when threats are posed, he has the right to take action at the time, and in the manner of his choosing," White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said.