In a massive development, eight Katyusha rockets have hit an Iraq base hosting US troops on Sunday evening, according to international news reports. Moreover, Iran's Revolutionary Guards have revealed that the missiles fired on January 8 was not aimed to kill US soldiers. Four Iraqi soldiers have reportedly been injured in the attack.
Reports state that seven mortar bombs have hit the Iraqi Balad Air Base - which is 64 kms from Baghdad, injuring 4 Iraqi soldiers - 2 Iraq Army officers and 2 naval forces members.
About 90 per cent of the US advisers, and employees of Sallyport and Lockheed Martin who are specialised in aircraft maintenance, have withdrawn to Taji and Erbil after threats," one of the sources said adding,"There are no more than 15 US soldiers and a single plane at al-Balad."
The same air base had been hit on January 4 when three rockets hit the Balad airbase. Iran backed militia group- Hezbollah had claimed responsibility for the attack in which 107mm and 122mm unguided rockets were launched by IRGC proxies at Baghdad's Green Zone which hit in the vicinity of the US Embassy.
A majority of US airmen stationed at the Al-Balad airbase north of Baghdad had already left, the military sources said, following tensions between the US and Iran over the last two weeks, according to AFP. Military bases hosting US troops have been subject to volleys of rocket and mortar attacks in recent months that have mostly wounded Iraqi forces. but also killed one American contractor last month. The attack has been confirmed by the Iraqi PM's Security Media Cell.
قاعدة #بلد الجوية في محافظة صلاح الدين، تتعرض الى قصف ب ٨ صواريخ الكاتيوشا ، مما ادى الى اصابة اربعة من منتسبي القوة الجوية العراقية بينهما ضابطين إثنين.— خلية الإعلام الأمني🇮🇶 (@SecMedCell) January 12, 2020
This came amid escalating tensions between the US and Iran after US airstrike killed Iran's second most important person - commander of Quds Force of Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) Qasem Soleimani. While Iran vowed to take "revenge", and shot a missile at US airbase in Iraq, US President Donald said that Iran and the US can work together for world peace, pointing ISIS as a common enemy. However, on Friday, the US imposed new sanctions on Iran.