Rocket attack in Iraq kills two Americans and a Briton
Two Americans and one British national were killed in a rocket attack on a base in Iraq on Wednesday, according to the multinational coalition there.
An estimated 18 rockets slammed into Camp Taji, about 15 miles northwest of Baghdad, killing three coalition personnel and wounding 12 others, according to Operation Inherent Resolve, which is led by the United States.
The names of those killed were not released, pending next-of-kin notification.
A security source, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said they were an American service member, a U.S. contractor and a British soldier.
No group has claimed responsibility.
Iraq’s Security Media Cell, which publishes official news from the country’s security services, posted images of a Kia flat-bed truck mounted with rocket launchers that it reported was found in the village of Rashidiya, nearly five miles east of the base.
Camp Taji is one of several bases in the country hosting coalition members.
Wednesday’s attack is another blow to an already ailing relationship between the U.S. and Iraq. In December, a similar rocket fusillade killed a U.S. contractor, an attack the U.S. blamed on Kataib Hezbollah, an Iraqi paramilitary faction with strong ties to Iran. (The group has no connection to Hezbollah, the Lebanese Shiite armed group and political party.)
Though the group denied responsibility, the U.S. attacked its positions and later assassinated Maj. Gen. Qassem Suleimani, who headed covert military operations for Iran.
Abu Mahdi Muhandis, a top commander for Iraqi paramilitary groups, was killed in the same strike.
In the aftermath, Iraqi politicians denounced Suleimani’s killing as a violation of both Iraq’s sovereignty and the agreement under which U.S. troops operated in the country.
Suleimani would have turned 63 on Wednesday, prompting speculation that the attack was intended to avenge his death.
About 5,200 American service members are in Iraq working in an advise-and-assist capacity with Iraqi forces, according to the Pentagon. It is unclear how many U.S. contractors are based there.
Parliament voted for a resolution pushing the Iraqi government to expel U.S. forces from the country.
Later Wednesday, Syrian state news reported a series of airstrikes in the vicinity of Bukamal, a city near the border with Iraq. The environs of the city are known to have bases for several Iraqi militias, including Kataib Hezbollah.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a pro-opposition monitoring group, reported the strikes killed 18 Iraqi fighters.
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