The US-led coalition against Iran and extremist group ISIS said that a rocket strike in the northern part of Iraq claimed the life of one American civilian contractor and injured several military officials from US and Iraq on December 27. The coalition said that the rocket attack had taken place on an Iraqi military base located in Kirkuk. They further added that the response will be headed by the Iraqi security forces, adding that they are also investigating the rocket attack.
According to reports, establishments of particular interest to the US in Iraq have been subject to numerous rocket attacks for the past couple of months. However, no one has taken responsibility for these attacks but the US has put the blame on Shia paramilitary groups that have support from Iran. The United States has asked the Islamic State of Iraq to take the necessary steps to protect US interests in their country following numerous rocket attacks.
In a public address, US defence secretary Mark Esper said that in a phone conversation with Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdel Mahdi, he had asked raised his concerns about the attacks on US interests. Esper further added that America has a right to defend itself, asking their Iraqi counterparts to take proper actions to put a stop to such attacks.
According to reports, a senior official of the US government said that the attacks on Iraqi bases used by US forces were increasing and becoming more advanced, threatening to an escalation between all sides. There are approximately 5,000 US troops deployed in Iraq.
According to reports, Baghdad asked everyone to make efforts to prevent any potential escalation that will threaten relations between all parties, adding that one-sided decisions will ultimately lead to negative reactions, making it more difficult to handle the situation. ISIS fighters have been functioning in the affected areas have turned to different tactics in order to topple down the Iraqi government ever since it reclaimed areas and declared victory against the government in the year 2017.
While talking to a local media outlet, the Iraqi military said that a car bomb claimed the lives of two soldiers in Iraq's western province of Anbar. They further added that the area was once the Islamic State's last stronghold in the country. It was unclear who launched the attack yet in recent days the Islamic State militants have carried out a string of attacks in the area since they lost control in 2017 and reverted to hit-and-run insurgency tactics. The military said that the car exploded while soldiers were inspecting it on a road leading to Anbar's Qaim district, 300 kilometres west of Baghdad and close to the border with Syria.