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Rockets Hit Iraqi Air Base             04/19 06:19



   BAGHDAD (AP) -- Multiple rockets hit an Iraqi airbase just north of the 
capital Baghdad Sunday, wounding two Iraqi security forces, an Iraqi military 
commander said.

   In comments to Iraq's official news agency, Maj. Gen. Diaa Mohsen, commander 
of the Balad airbase, said at least two rockets exploded inside the base, which 
houses U.S. trainers. The attack comes days after an explosives-laden drone 
targeted U.S.-led coalition forces near a northern Iraq airport, causing a 
large fire and damage to a building.

   Mohsen said the attack resulted in the injury of two security forces, one of 
them in serious condition and the other only slightly. There was no material 
damage inside the base from the attack, he added.

   The incident was the latest in a string of attacks that have targeted mostly 
American installations in Iraq in recent weeks. There was no immediate 
responsibility claim, but U.S. officials have previously blamed Iran-backed 
Iraqi militia factions for such attacks.

   American forces withdrew from Iraq in 2011 but returned in 2014 at the 
invitation of Iraq to help battle the Islamic State group after it seized vast 
areas in the north and west of the country. In late 2020, U.S. troop levels in 
Iraq were reduced to 2,500 after withdrawals based on orders from the Trump 

   Calls grew for further U.S. troop withdrawals after a U.S.-directed drone 
strike killed Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani and an Iraqi militia leader in 
Baghdad in January 2020.

   Last month, a base in western Iraq housing U.S.-led coalition troops and 
contractors was hit by 10 rockets. One contractor was killed.

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