Three missiles hit the Iraq air base where US troops are stationed: officials

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It is the first time in two months that US installations in Iraq have been targeted. (Representative)

Baghdad:

At least three missiles were aimed at Erbil Airport in northern Iraq, one of which hit a military complex where US-led coalition forces are stationed, security forces said Monday.

The indirect fire marks the first time in nearly two months that US military or diplomatic facilities have been targeted in Iraq.

At around 9:30 p.m. (1830 GMT), an AFP reporter heard several loud explosions on the northwestern outskirts of Erbil, the capital of Iraq’s Kurdistan Autonomous Region.

Iraqi and Western security forces told AFP that at least three rockets had been fired towards the airport.

Two affected residential areas on the outskirts of Erbil.

There was no immediate information about the victims.

Western military and diplomatic sites have been hit by dozens of rockets and roadside bombing since autumn 2019, but most of the violence has taken place in Baghdad.

Both American and Iraqi officials have accused hardline armed groups, including the pro-Iranian faction Kataeb Hezbollah and Asaib Ahl al-Haq.

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These groups are vehemently against the US-led coalition, which has been stationed in Iraq since 2014 to help local forces fight the Islamic state group.

After IS is largely defeated, the coalition has withdrawn to a total of less than 3,500 armed forces, of which 2,500 are US troops.

Most of these units are concentrated in the military complex at Erbil Airport, a coalition source told AFP.

Most of the missile attacks, however, had focused on the coalition and US diplomatic personnel in Baghdad.

In October, the US threatened to close its embassy there if the rocket attacks didn’t stop, and so hardline groups agreed to an indefinite ceasefire.

There have been several violations since then, the last of which was a volley of rockets aimed at the U.S. embassy on December 20 before Monday night.

(Except for the headline, this story was not edited by GossipMantri staff and published from a syndicated feed.)

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