US diplomats and troops in Iraq and Syria were targeted in three rocket and drone attacks within the past 24 hours, US and Iraq officials said on Wednesday, including a minimum of 14 rockets hitting an Iraqi air station hosting US forces, wounding two American service members.
While there have been no immediate claims of responsibility for the attacks — a part of “> a part of a wave targeting US troops or areas where they’re based in Iraq and Syria — analysts believed they were part of a campaign by Iranian-backed militias.
Iraqi militia groups aligned with Iran vowed to retaliate after US strikes on the Iraqi-Syrian border killed four of their members last month.
Two people were slightly wounded within the rocket attack on the Ain al-Asad air station in western Iraq, said coalition spokesman United States Army Colonel Wayne Marotto. The rockets landed on the bottom and its perimeter. He said earlier that three people were wounded.
US officials said the 2 personnel injured were US service members. One suffered a concussion and therefore the other had minor cuts, one among the officials added.
Two rockets were fired at the US Embassy inside Baghdad’s Green Zone early Thursday, Iraqi security sources said.
The embassy’s anti-rocket system diverted one among the rockets, said one among the sources — a security official whose office is inside the Green Zone. The second rocket fell near the zone’s perimeter, security officials said.
Sirens blared from the embassy compound inside the zone, which houses government buildings and foreign missions, the sources said.
In Syria, the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces said no damage was done by a drone attack on the Al Omar oil field in an eastern area bordering Iraq where US forces came under rocket fire but escaped injury on June 28.
The Pentagon said a drone had been brought down in eastern Syria which no US service members had been injured and there had not been any damage.
Iraqi army officials said the pace of recent attacks against bases hosting US forces with rockets and explosive-laden drones was unprecedented.
Iraqi military sources said a launcher fixed on the rear of a truck was utilized in Wednesday’s attack and was found on nearby farmland assail fire.
On Tuesday, a drone attacked Erbil airport in northern Iraq, targeting a US base on the airport grounds, Kurdish security sources said. Three rockets also landed on Ain al-Asad on Monday without causing casualties.
Us has been holding indirect talks with Iran aimed toward bringing both nations back to compliance with the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, which was abandoned by then-President Donald Trump. No date has been set for the next round of the talks, which adjourned on June 20.
Hamdi Malik, an associate fellow at the Washington Institute and a specialist on Iraq’s militias, said the attacks were a part of a coordinated escalation by Iranian-backed militias in Iraq.
The plan to strike in eastern Syria seemed to be the primary example of operations being administered simultaneously in both countries.
“It seems to me they need the green light from Iran to escalate, especially as long as the nuclear negotiations aren’t going well. But at an equivalent time, they’re doing not want to escalate beyond a particular point they are more susceptible to US airstrikes than they wont to be – and that they don’t want to overcomplicate the negotiations Iran is holding with the West.”