News ID: 266915
Published: 0340 GMT March 14, 2020

New rockets target Iraq base housing foreign troops

New rockets target Iraq base housing foreign troops

Iran summons Swiss envoy over Trump’s claim

A fresh spate of rockets targeted an Iraqi base north of Baghdad on Saturday where foreign troops are deployed, Iraqi and US security sources said, in a rare daytime attack.

It was the 23rd such attack since late October on installations across Iraq where American troops and diplomats are based, with the latest rounds growing deadlier, according to AFP.

None of the attacks have ever been claimed but the US has blamed the Hashd al-Sha’abi, a network of popular fighters incorporated into the Iraqi military.

At least 33 rockets hit Iraqi air defense units at the Taji airbase on Saturday, the country's military said, in one of the largest such volleys yet.

"The initial toll is two wounded Iraqi air defense personnel who are in very critical condition," said Tahsin al-Khafaji, spokesman for Iraq's Joint Operations Command.

The US-led coalition said three of its members were also wounded in the attack.

Taji is overcrowded with members of the US-led coalition, after units were moved to the airbase from other installations.

It came three days after a similar attack on the base killed two American military personnel and a British soldier – the deadliest such incident at an Iraqi base in years.

The US responded Friday with airstrikes on arms depots it said were used by Kataeb Hezbollah, a faction within the Hashd al-Sha’abi.

At least five members of Iraq's security forces and one civilian were killed, none of them members of the Hashd, according to Iraq's military.


Iran protest

Iran summoned the Swiss envoy, whose country represents US Interests Section in Tehran, to protest US President Donald Trump blaming Iran for the Wednesday rocket attack.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Seyyed Abbas Mousavi said Saturday that Markus Leitner was summoned to the Iranian Foreign Ministry a day earlier to be informed of Iran’s “severe protest” over the remarks.

Mousavi said Washington’s destructive policies and its role in current tensions were discussed during the meeting where Iran warned the Americans against any “unwise” actions.

“Trump can’t deny his responsibility by making such baseless and dangerous accusations” against Iran, he added.

On Thursday, Trump claimed that the Wednesday rocket attack was carried out by attackers that “most likely looked like it could be backed by Iran.”

No group has yet claimed responsibility for the attack.

AFP and Press TV contributed to this story.



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