Published: Tue, January 14, 2020
Global News | By Blake Casey

The ‘miraculous’ escape of USA troops at Iraqi base attacked by Iran

The ‘miraculous’ escape of USA troops at Iraqi base attacked by Iran

An Iraqi military statement said the camp had been targeted by Katyusha rockets.

Secretary of Defense Mark Esper told NPR on Monday that the US has the constitutional authority to strike Iran-backed proxy militia groups in Iraq and Iran to retaliate against attacks on American forces.

Multiple rockets have be fired at Camp Taji US air base in Iraq, various media outlets are reporting. Iran then fired a barrage of missiles at Iraqi bases holding USA troops during the following week before sanctions were levied against the Tehran by the White House.

At least two rockets are believed to have hit near the base, which is 17km north of Baghdad.

The move came after Qassem Soleimani, the head of Iran's Revolutionary Guards Corps' elite Quds Force, was assassinated in a US drone strike on January 3 outside Baghdad International Airport in Iraq.

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Although there were no American casualties, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo tweeted Sunday that he is "outraged" by the attack and calls on the Iraqi government to hold whoever was behind it responsible.

Those attacks were seen as retaliation by Iran for the killing of the country's top general Qassem Soleimani by the US.

"These continued violations of Iraq's sovereignty by groups not loyal to the Iraqi government must end". USA defense officials confirmed to VOA were no US troops on the base.

"After these missile attacks, when we hear of possible militia rocket attacks, we tend to think, "Oh only rockets ... that's a change", Coleman said, describing the common feeling when the missile attacks were over as "sheer relief".

The air base is one of the largest and biggest in the country but lacks sufficient surface-to-air defenses, as the United States did not build such structures on the base.

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