Iraqi army aircraft damaged in rocket attack on Camp Taji

The attack is the latest in a long-running series of low-level attacks believed to be carried out by Iran-sponsored militias in Iraq.

al-monitor A US soldier walks at the Taji base complex, which hosts Iraqi and US troops and is located 30 kilometers north of the capital Baghdad, on Dec. 29, 2014.  Photo by ALI AL-SAADI/AFP via Getty Images.

Jul 27, 2020

Three Katyusha rockets fell on the Camp Taji military base north of Baghdad on Monday night, damaging an Iraqi army helicopter, the Iraqi military said.

Iraq’s military announced on social media the rockets were launched from Saba’ al-Bour, a neighborhood southeast of the base, and fell on an area of the Camp Taji base used by Iraqi forces.

Taji houses both Iraqi and international military personnel as part of the US-led coalition against the Islamic State (IS). The US-led coalition said none of its personnel were injured.

The rocket strike is the latest in a long-running series of low-level attacks believed to be carried out by Iran-sponsored militias in Iraq. Four Katyusha rockets struck Besmaya air base on Friday, a day before the coalition handed the base fully over to Iraqi control. No injuries were reported.

The United States ordered coalition personnel to consolidate at larger garrisons in Iraq such as the Taji, Ain al-Asad and Erbil air bases earlier this year as part of a planned new phase of the multinational mission in support of Iraq’s military against IS.

The coronavirus pandemic and a spate of rocket attacks hastened the coalition’s pullback.

A rocket attack last December killed an American military contractor at Taji, leading the United States to launch airstrikes against alleged Kataib Hezbollah targets across the country. The United States then killed top Iranian Quds Force commander Maj. Gen. Qasem Soleimani in Baghdad after pro-Iranian militia leaders led mobs to storm the US Embassy in the Iraqi capital.

“Iraqi security forces will continue to seek and pursue those involved in these attacks and bring them to justice,” Iraq’s security media cell tweeted.

Iraq’s Counter-Terrorism Services late last month arrested more than a dozen men allegedly linked to the Iran-backed Popular Mobilization Units (PMU) militias who the Iraqi government said were suspected of planning attacks.

The United States denied direct involvement in the arrests but has urged Iraq’s Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi to crack down on the PMU.

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