Four Rockets Hit Iraq Airbase Hosting US Troops


The rocket attack came just days after Iran fired ballistic missiles at two bases in Iraq that house us forces.

An adviser to Iraq Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi told Reuters that Iran did not directly notify Iraq until shortly before the missile attack - but said Iran passed warnings through other countries.

Iraqi lawmakers passed a resolution Sunday to oust us troops, following the January 3 USA drone strike that killed Soleimani and senior Iraqi militia commander Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis at Baghdad's airport.

USA military sources, quoted by AFP, said that four Iraqi airmen were wounded in the attack while adding that the majority of the U.S. military have left the Al-Balad airbase following tensions with Iran.

The State Department flatly dismissed Abdul-Mahdi's request, saying US troops are crucial for the fight against the Islamic State group and it would not discuss removing them.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo tweeted to say he was "outraged" by the attack and called on the Iraqi government "to hold those responsible for this attack on the Iraqi people accountable".

Mahdi also objected to USA forces entering Iraq and planes flying over Iraqi airspace, according to a statement cited by the Post.

The United States is working on getting North Atlantic Treaty Organisation to commit more resources to the Middle East and is focused on continuing the important missions, protecting and defending the American people, reducing costs, and keeping troops safe, Pompeo added.

The State Department warned that Iraq's access to its main account at the Federal Reserve Bank of NY could be shut off if the Iraqi government asks American troops to leave, Iraqi officials told the Wall Street Journal.

Ortagus did not elaborate.

Are they anxious about being caught in between Iran and the U.S.? The current waiver expires in February, and without a new one, Iraq could face severe penalties. Sunni and Kurdish lawmakers oppose the Parliament resolution. "Our military presence in Iraq is to continue the fight against ISIS and as the Secretary has said, we are committed to protecting Americans, Iraqis, and our coalition partners".

No group claimed responsibility for Sunday's attack, according to Associated Press.

Iranian security forces, meanwhile, stepped up patrols in Tehran, seeking to quell further anti-government protests after the regime admitted downing the Ukrainian passenger jet "by mistake". Security has been stepped up in Iran after a vigil the previous night for those killed in the air disaster.

Abdul-Mahdi resigned a year ago, but he has continued to preside over the government in an acting capacity.

Some shells hit the runway of the facility while another shell struck the gate, Colonel Mohammed Khalil, a police officer in the northern Iraqi province of Salah al-Din, added.