Missiles target U.S. troops, contractors in Iraqi army bases

BAGHDAD (AP) – Several missiles were aimed at two Iraqi military bases on Wednesday that were home to US-led coalition troops and foreign contractors, Iraqi security officials and the military said.

Three missiles hit the Balad Air Force Base north of Baghdad without causing any loss or damage, a statement from the Iraqi military said. The base hosted foreign contractors.

Hours later, at least one missile struck near a military base next to Baghdad airport, two Iraqi security officials said. It was unclear whether the explosion was caused by a missile or drone attack.

An Iraqi security official said he heard two missiles. The second said preliminary results indicated that it was a drone attack and that a coalition supporter was set on fire by the attack. There were no injuries, it said.

The officers spoke on condition of anonymity as they had no authority to inform the media.

There was no direct responsibility for the attacks, but US officials have previously blamed Iraqi militias supported by Iran for such attacks.

The attacks are the latest in a series to continue targeting the US presence in Iraq. Since President Joe Biden took office this year, more than a dozen Iraqi military bases and Baghdad’s heavily fortified Green Zone have attacked. More than 10 people were killed, including two foreign contractors.

Lockheed Martin announced last month that it was withdrawing contractors to maintain Iraqi F-16 fighter jets from the Balad base for security reasons.

The most recent attacks have involved more sophisticated weapons such as drones, which have alerted the US and Iraqi military. The attacks come while Baghdad and Washington are working on a timetable for the withdrawal of combat forces from Iraq.

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