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New rocket attack targets Iraqi air base housing occupying US forces

At least five rockets have targeted an Iraqi air base hosting the occupying US soldiers and warplanes following a string of similar attacks on the base during past months.According to the latest reports, during the Sunday attack, at least two projectiles hit the facilities of an American firm inside al-Balad air base, which provides maintenance to planes, a security source was quoted by AFP as saying.Three more rockets fell outside the premises of the base.Two foreign contractors and three Iraqi soldiers were wounded, an unnamed source told AFP.Another report by Reuters quoted officials as saying that Katyusha rockets were used in the attack.No group has immediately claimed responsibility for the latest attack on the base, which is located 85 kilometers north of the capital Baghdad, and houses, among other things, F-16 fighter jets in addition to several maintenance companies employing Iraqi and foreign staff.The Sunday’s assault was the latest in a string of attacks against US positions that were carried out after US President Joe Biden, in February, ordered airstrikes on positions of anti-terror Popular Mobilization Units (PMU) along the Iraqi-Syrian border, where they were fighting remnants of the Takfiri Daesh terrorist group.The Iraqi counter-terrorism forces pledged retaliation, prompting the US military forces to go on high alert and adopt maximum security measures in anticipation of a response.The last attack on Balad air base was on April 4 when at least two rockets hit the site.Anti-US sentiment has been running high in Iraq following last year’s US assassination of top Iranian anti-terror commander General Qassem Soleimani and senior PMU commander Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, in addition to several other comrades, outside the Baghdad airport.Iraqi resistance groups have vowed to avenge the assassinations, but denied any role in such rocket attacks.Two days after the assassinations, the Iraqi parliament voted for a resolution that called for expulsion of all foreign forces, including the Americans.The Iraqi parliament’s resolution concerning withdrawal of US troops from the entire Iraqi territory, including the semi-autonomous Kurdistan region, is unambiguous and irreversible.Washington, however, has threatened sanctions should US troops be expelled from Iraq instead of ending the occupation of the Arab country.

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