BAGHDAD — Multiple rockets targeted two Iraqi facilities, including one hosting U.S. and coalition troops, Iraqi security officials and the U.S. military said.
Three rockets hit Balad airbase, north of Baghdad, without causing any casualties or damage, an Iraqi military statement said. The base houses foreign contractors.
Hours later, at least one missile hit close to a military base next to Baghdad airport, two Iraqi security officials said. It was unclear whether the explosion was caused by a rocket or a drone strike.
One Iraqi security official said they had heard two rockets. The second said preliminary findings indicated it had been a drone attack and a trailer belonging to the coalition was set on fire by the attack. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to brief the media.
There were no casualties, they said. However, a U.S. Embassy official said there were minor injuries.
The diplomatic compound “suffered minor damage and a small number of personnel were treated and released for smoke inhalation,” a U.S. Embassy spokesperson told Military Times. “As a matter of policy, we do not comment on our security procedures.”
The spokesperson did not elaborate on whether those injured personnel were troops or civilians, nor weigh in on what types of munitions were used.
Balad Iraqi Air Force Base “does not have US/Coalition service members assigned to the base. It is strictly Iraqi,” Army Col. Wayne Marotto, spokesman for Operation Inherent Resolve, told Military Times.
The Baghdad Diplomatic Support Center, at Baghdad International Airport, suffered a “UAS/drone attack” according to the Iraqi military, Marotto said.
“There are several hundred US/Coalition servicemembers assigned at BDSC,” Marotto said.
Marotto referred questions about that to the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the strikes, but U.S. officials have previously blamed Iran-backed Iraqi militia factions for such assaults.
The attacks are the latest in a string that continue to target the U.S. presence in Iraq. Over a dozen have targeted Iraqi military bases and Baghdad’s highly fortified Green Zone since U.S. President Joe Biden assumed office this year. More than 10 people have been killed, including two foreign contractors.
Lockheed Martin announced last month that it was withdrawing contractors maintaining Iraq’s F-16 fighter jets from the Balad base over security reasons.
Recent attacks have featured more sophisticated weaponry, such as drones, which has alarmed U.S. and Iraqi military officials. The attacks occur as Baghdad and Washington work on drawing up a timetable for the withdrawal of combat forces from Iraq.
“Each attack against the GoI, KRI and the Coalition undermines the authority of Iraqi institutions, the rule of law and Iraqi National sovereignty,” Marotto told Military Times.
Howard Altman is an award-winning editor and reporter who was previously the military reporter for the Tampa Bay Times and before that the Tampa Tribune, where he covered USCENTCOM, USSOCOM and SOF writ large among many other topics.