Rocket, drone attacks target Iraq’s Ain al-Asad air base, Deir Ez-Zor oilfield

Military vehicles of U.S. soldiers are seen at Ain al-Asad air base in Anbar province, Iraq January 13, 2020. (Reuters)

SULAIMANI (ESTA) — Iraq’s Ain al-Asad air base and an oilfield in Syria’s Deir ez-Zor were targeted with rocket and drone attacks on Wednesday.

In a statement, Iraqi security media cell said the air base, which houses U.S.-led Coalition troops was attacked by 14 rockets.

The rockets were launched from a truck carrying a container in al-Baghdadi district in Anbar province, the military added.

“The truck which was thought to be carrying flour bags carried a launchpad,” the military said.

Several local homes and a mosque were damaged due to explosion from the rocket launcher, it stated.

Coalition Spokesman Col. Wayne Marotto said two personnel sustained minor injuries.

“The rockets landed on the base & perimeter,” he said in a tweet. “Force protection defensive measures were activated.”

In Syria, the U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) said al-Omar oilfield in Deir ez-Zor in east of Syria was targeted with a drone at 10:15 a.m. on Wednesday.

“Our advanced forces to fight Islamic State and the international coalition forces in the al-Omar oilfield area in Deir Ez-Zor dealt with hostile attacks by drones,” head of SDF office of media and information Farhad Shami said in a tweet.

“Initial reports confirm the failure of the attacks and no damages,” he added.

The attacks came after a bomb-laden drone targeted Erbil air base late on Tuesday. There was no casualty.

U.S. officials blame Iran-backed militias for regular rocket attacks on U.S. facilities in Iraq, including near the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad.

Earlier on Wednesday, Iraq’s militia group Asaib Ahl al-Haq said the drone attack on Erbil airport was in response to the U.S. strikes against militia groups in Iraq and Syria.

“The coming days will witness an escalation in the pace of qualitative operations against the American presence until this administration [Iraqi government] complies with the Iraqi parliament’s decision to leave Iraq and respect Iraqi sovereignty,” Saadi told Shafaq news.

The U.S. military said last week that it targeted operational and weapons storage facilities at two locations in Syria and one in Iraq.

Iraqi militia groups aligned with Iran in a statement named four members of the Kataib Sayyed al-Shuhada faction they said were killed in the attack on the Syria-Iraq border. They vowed to retaliate.

*This story was updated at 02:23 p.m. EBL time 

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