Security sources: Missiles and drones hit Iraqi bases housing American forces

Military vehicles of US soldiers at Al-Asad Air Base in Anbar Governorate, Iraq, January 13, 2020. Photograph: John Davison – Reuters. Obtaining licensing rights

Anbar, Iraq (Reuters) – Two security sources said that drones and missiles targeted the Ain al-Asad air base, which hosts American and other international forces in western Iraq, on Thursday evening, and that several explosions were heard inside the base.

The Iraqi army said it closed the area surrounding the base and began a search operation. The sources said that it is not yet clear whether the attacks caused casualties or damage.

Iraqi police said on Thursday that missiles hit another military base hosting American forces near Baghdad International Airport, without providing further details.

The latest attacks reached four during the past 24 hours, targeting Iraqi military bases that host American forces in Iraq.

US military forces in Iraq were targeted on Wednesday in two separate drone attacks, one of which caused minor injuries to a small number of troops although the US military was able to intercept the armed drone.

Last week, Iraqi armed groups allied with Iran threatened to target US interests with missiles and drones if Washington intervenes to support Israel against Hamas in Gaza.

The United States has 2,500 soldiers in Iraq and another 900 soldiers in neighboring Syria on a mission to provide advice and assistance to local forces in the fight against the Islamic State, which in 2014 took control of large areas of territory in the two countries.

Ain al-Asad Air Base is located in the west of Anbar Governorate.

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(Reporting by Kamal Ayyash – Prepared by Jaafar for the Arabic Bulletin) Written by Ahmed Rashid; Editing by Chizuo Nomiyama, Daniel Wallis, and Lincoln Feast.

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