14 rockets hit airbase hosting US and other foreign troops in Iraq

More than a dozen rockets hit an Iraqi military base hosting US and other international troops, wounding at least two people.

Colonel Wayne Marotto, spokesperson for the United States-led military coalition said the Al-Assad Air Base in western Iraq was attacked early by 14 rockets that landed on the base and its perimeter, prompting the activation of defensive measures.

“Two personnel sustained minor injuries. Damage still [to] be assessed,” he said in a later Twitter post, updating an initial statement of three minor injuries.

A statement from the Security Media Cell, affiliated with Iraq’s security forces, said a mobile rocket launcher hidden in a truck loaded with bags of flour and parked in the nearby village of Baghdadi was used in the attack.

It added that the 14 rockets were fired toward the base while the rest exploded on the truck, damaging some village homes and a mosque.

Iraq’s government called it a “terrorist attack” and a “flagrant violation” of Iraqi laws.

A previously unknown group calling itself “The brigades to avenge al-Muhandis”, said its members fired 30 rockets toward the base “run by American occupiers”.

It added a message to U.S. troops: “We will force you to leave our lands defeated.”

The group is named after Iraqi militia leader Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis who was killed last year in a US drone attack in Baghdad along with Iranian General Qassem Soleimani.

The US accuses Iranian-backed militia groups of launching regular rocket attacks against its troops in Iraq.

Some 2,500 US soldiers are deployed in Iraq as part of an international coalition to fight the ISIL group. They have been targeted almost 50 times this year.

The latest incident came two days after at least three rockets landed on Ain al-Asad, without causing casualties.