Saturday, February 27, 2021

Rockets hit Iraq navy airbase internet hosting US contractors

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AP 07061601874

One individual wounded as a number of rockets strike Iraq’s Balad airbase the place a US defence firm has its headquarters.

At least 4 rockets struck an Iraqi airbase on Saturday evening, the Iraqi navy stated in an announcement, whereas different officers stated one individual was wounded on the base the place a United States defence firm providers fight plane.

The wounded particular person labored for the US firm, the Associated Press information company reported, citing 4 officers who spoke on situation of anonymity. No group instantly claimed the assault on Balad airbase in Salah al-Din province.

Jamal Akab, the media spokesman for the province, advised native media the missiles landed “near the perimeter of the airbase in an open area”.

In January 2020, the bottom, which lies about 80km north of the capital, Baghdad, was attacked by eight Katyusha rockets, wounding 4 members of the Iraqi air pressure, together with two officers.

US defence firm Sallyport has its headquarters throughout the airbase, and presently has 46 personnel there contracted to offer providers to help Iraq’s F-16 programme.

The US has beforehand evacuated a few of its contractors from the bottom for safety causes.

It was the second salvo of rockets to hit a base internet hosting US forces or contractors in lower than every week. Armed teams that some Iraqi officers say are backed by Iran have claimed comparable incidents prior to now.

Last week, one international civilian contractor was killed and 9 others wounded after a volley of missile assaults on the navy base inside Erbil’s airport, within the Kurdish-controlled area in northern Iraq.

The assault was claimed by a little-known armed group that referred to as itself Awliya al-Dam – or the Guardians of the Blood. Iraqi officers stated the group had ties with the Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF) – the Iraqi paramilitaries established in 2014 from principally Shia militia teams to combat the ISIL (ISIS) group.

Saturday’s assault comes after NATO introduced it could dramatically scale up its mission in Iraq from 500 personnel to 4,000 to battle the remnants of ISIL (ISIS), Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg stated this week. The enhance comes as US-led coalition troops have step by step decreased their presence in Iraq over the past 12 months.

NATO’s coaching mission was launched in 2018 to assist the conflict-ravaged nation develop new academies and navy colleges for its armed forces. It was initially situated within the capital, Baghdad, and in neighbouring Jordan.

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