Missiles and drones struck Iraqi bases housing US forces

Military vehicles of US soldiers at Al-Asad Air Base in Anbar Governorate, Iraq, January 13, 2020. Photograph: John Davison – Reuters. Obtaining licensing rights

ANBAR, Iraq (Reuters) – Drones and missiles targeted two military bases hosting US forces in Iraq on Thursday, sources and officials said, the latest in a series of attacks after Iraqi militants warned Washington against intervening to support Israel against Hamas in Iraq. Gaza.

Two security sources said that missiles and drones were fired at Ain al-Asad air base, which hosts American and other international forces in western Iraq, and several explosions were heard inside the base.

The Iraqi army said it closed the area surrounding the base and began a search operation. The sources said that it is not yet clear whether the attacks caused casualties or damage.

Iraqi police said on Thursday that missiles hit another military base hosting American forces near Baghdad International Airport, without providing further details.

An American official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said that two missiles were fired at American forces at the airport. The official added that one of them was intercepted, while the other hit an empty storage facility, and there were no casualties.

The latest attacks reached four during the past 24 hours, targeting Iraqi military bases that host American forces in Iraq.

Last week, Iraqi militant groups allied with Iran threatened to target US interests with missiles and drones if Washington intervenes to support Israel against Hamas in Gaza following deadly incursions by Hamas militants that killed 1,400 people.

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US military forces in Iraq were targeted on Wednesday in two separate drone attacks, one of which caused minor injuries to a small number of troops although the US military was able to intercept the armed drone.

The United States has 2,500 soldiers in Iraq and another 900 soldiers in neighboring Syria on a mission to provide advice and assistance to local forces in the fight against the Islamic State, which in 2014 took control of large areas of territory in the two countries.

Ain al-Asad Air Base is located in the west of Anbar Governorate.

(Reporting by Kamal Ayyash and Idris Ali – Prepared by Muhammad for the Arabic Bulletin) Written by Ahmed Rashid; Editing by Chizuo Nomiyama, Daniel Wallis, and Lincoln Feast.

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