Iraqi forces deployed to areas in Diyala, Saladin to prevent rocket attacks: source

File – Iraqi security forces launch operation in Saladin province

SULAIMANI (ESTA) — Units of Iraqi security forces were deployed to areas near the Tigris River in the provinces of Diyala and Saladin to track down groups launching rockets toward the Balad air base housing U.S.-led Coalition troops, Iraqi media reported.

“Detachments have been deployed within the Tigris River from the Diyala province, which includes several villages used by armed groups to launch Katyusha rockets towards Balad Air Base, south of Saladin,” a security source told National Iraqi News Agency (NINA).

NINA reported that residents of al-Khalis located on the banks of Tigris River demanded the security officials to prevent armed groups from using their lands and villages to target the air base.

The deployment comes as the Balad air base and other military bases which house U.S.-led Coalition troops have been attacked by armed groups.

On April 19, at least five rockets hit the air base, wounding two Iraqi soldiers.

The Iraqi military which called the attack a “terrorist act” said the rockets were launched from Dujma area in the district of al-Khalis.

No group immediately claimed the attack, but armed groups that some Iraqi officials say are backed by Iran have claimed similar incidents in the past.

American officials have blamed Iranian-backed militias for regular rocket attacks aimed at U.S. facilities in Iraq, including the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad.

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