US contractor dies in attack on Iraqi base

US contractor dies in attack on Iraqi base
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A U.S. contractor died of a heart attack Wednesday when at least 10 rockets hit a base housing U.S. and coalition troops in western Iraq, the Pentagon said.

Top Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said a U.S. civilian contractor “suffered a cardiac episode while sheltering and sadly passed away shortly after.”

No U.S. service members were injured and all are accounted for, he added.


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

The rockets struck the Al Asad air base in Iraq's Anbar province early Wednesday morning, the first such attack since a U.S. strike on an Iranian-backed militia along the Iraq-Syria border last week that resulted in the death of one militia member.

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.

No one has yet claimed responsibility for Wednesday’s strike, which triggered the base’s Counter-Rocket, Artillery, Mortar (C-RAM) missile defense systems.

The attack came days before Pope FrancisPope FrancisPope calls for easing of tensions between Russia and Ukraine Pope Francis asks Minnesota bishop to resign following Vatican probe Biden should look to 'Ostpolitik' to negotiate with autocrats MORE is scheduled to visit Iraq, drawing more concerns about the security of his trip.