Site of impact at al-Asad Air Base, Iraq, following a rocket attack on March 3, 2021. No US or coalition service members were injured by the approximately 10 rockets that hit the base; one US civilian contractor suffered a cardiac episode while sheltering and died shortly after. US Army National Guard photo by Sgt. 1st Class Christie R. Smith, courtesy of DVIDS.
The spokesman for Operation Inherent Resolve, the multinational military coalition against the Islamic State Group, tweeted that al-Asad air base in Anbar province, Iraq, was targeted Tuesday by a rocket attack. Col. Wayne Marotto said two Katyusha rockets landed in “an empty square” on the air base, which houses US personnel, causing no casualties and inflicting “no material losses.”
Initial report: @SecMedCell reports two Katyusha rockets landed in an empty square at Ain Al-Asad Air Base AAAB in Anbar Governorate. No casualties or material losses. For more information see @SecMedCell or @IraqiSpoxMOD
— OIR Spokesman Col. Wayne Marotto (@OIRSpox) May 4, 2021
Installations around Iraq housing US military personnel and contractors have been targeted more than 20 times since President Joe Biden took office in January of this year. Most recently, Balad air base was targeted April 18. On that day, five Katyusha rockets impacted around that installation, hitting a dormitory. Three Iraqi soldiers and two “foreign contractors” were wounded.
Days earlier, on April 14, the Erbil air base in northern Iraq was targeted by an armed drone, the first time such a tactic has been used against US forces operating in that country.
While no group has claimed responsibility for the Tuesday attack on al-Asad, Reuters reports that US officials in Iraq regularly blame Iranian-backed militias for such actions. The installation was targeted by 10 rockets on March 3.
Additionally, al-Asad is located in the so-called “Sunni triangle,” which saw heavy fighting during the US-led occupation of Iraq from 2003 to 2010. More recently, Anbar province served as a major base of operations for the Islamic State group, or ISIS, as it attempted to establish its so-called “caliphate.”
According to NBC News, on April 7 US and Iraqi political leaders agreed to remove the remaining US troops from Iraq, although a specific timeline for a withdrawal has yet to be established.
James Webb served as a US Marine infantryman from 2005 to 2010, completing a combat tour in Iraq. He’s worked as a freelance writer and photojournalist covering US troops in Afghanistan, and Webb spent more than two years in the US Senate as a military legislative assistant and as the personal representative of a member on the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
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