Rockets target Baghdad airport base housing US troops

Two rockets have targeted a base at Iraq’s Baghdad airport housing US-led coalition troops in the second such attack in 10 days.

One of the projectiles was intercepted by the C-RAM counter rocket, artillery and mortar system deployed to protect American forces in Iraq, a security source told AFP news agency. There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack.

Security officials said the rockets were launched from an area close to the airport.

Washington routinely blames Iran-linked Iraqi factions for such attacks on its troops and diplomats.

Tehran and Washington have both had a presence in Iraq since 2003, 2,500 US troops are still deployed there.

Last week, three rockets crashed into the sector of the Baghdad airport base occupied by Iraqi troops, wounding one soldier.

Almost 30 rocket or bomb attacks have targeted US interests in Iraq – including troops, the embassy or Iraqi supply convoys to foreign forces – since US President Joe Biden took office in January.

Two foreign contractors, one Iraqi contractor, and eight Iraqi civilians have been killed in the raids.

The operations are sometimes claimed by obscure groups experts say are smokescreens for Iran-backed organisations long present in Iraq.

‘Occupying’ US forces

The attacks come at a sensitive time as Iran is engaged in talks with world powers aimed at bringing the US back into a 2015 nuclear deal.

Baghdad last month reportedly hosted a secret meeting of senior officials from Tehran and US ally Saudi Arabia.

Iraq, wedged between its eastern neighbour Iran and Saudi Arabia to the south, has been working to become a mediator.

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