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Base housing US troops in Iraq hit by rockets

Base housing US troops in Iraq hit by rockets
© Getty Images

A base housing U.S.-led coalition troops in Iraq was hit by at least 10 rockets on Wednesday morning, military officials said.

"We can confirm that early this morning the air base at Al Asad in Iraq came under rocket attack," top Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said in a statement.

Kirby said preliminary indications are that about 10 rockets were fired from points of origin east of the base, and that Al Asad’s Counter-Rocket, Artillery, Mortar (C-RAM) missile defense systems were engaged.

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There are no reports of U.S. service members being injured and all are accounted for, though a U.S. civilian contractor suffered a cardiac episode while sheltering and died shortly after, he added.

"We extend our deepest condolences to the loved ones of the individual who died," Kirby said.

Iraqi security forces are on the scene and investigating the attack, but the U.S. military "cannot attribute responsibility at this time, and we do not have a complete picture of the extent of the damage. We stand by as needed to assist our Iraqi partners as they investigate," he added.

Kirby also said Defense Secretary Lloyd AustinLloyd AustinOvernight Defense: Biden makes his Afghanistan decision Biden sparks bipartisan backlash on Afghanistan withdrawal  Iran to increase the purity of enriched uranium to 60 percent MORE has been briefed by his team and is closely monitoring the situation.

The Iraqi military said in a statement that no significant losses were reported in the attack in Iraq's Anbar province, but did not detail any potential casualties, according to news reports. Authorities tracked down the launch pad used to fire the rockets in the al-Baghdadi area of Anbar, an Iraqi military official told The Associated Press

The strike hit the base at about 7:20 a.m. local time, coalition spokesman Col. Wayne Marotto tweeted.

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No one has claimed responsibility for the attack, which was the first following a U.S. strike on an Iranian-backed militia along the Iraq-Syria border last week that resulted in the death of one militiaman, according to the AP.

The U.S. launched that attack in response to a Feb. 16 strike on U.S.-led troops in northern Iraq that killed a civilian contractor and wounded a U.S. service member.

The base targeted in Wednesday’s attack was the same facility struck by missiles in January 2020 when Iran retaliated following the U.S. strike that killed Gen. Qassem Soleimani. Dozens of U.S. service members suffered head injuries as a result of that Iranian missile attack.

Wednesday’s strike also came days before Pope FrancisPope FrancisPope Francis asks Minnesota bishop to resign following Vatican probe Biden should look to 'Ostpolitik' to negotiate with autocrats The Hill's Morning Report - Biden's infrastructure plan triggers definition debate MORE is scheduled to visit Iraq.

--Updated at 11:23 a.m.