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Rockets fired from Iraq towards US military base in Syria, security sources say

Published 04/21/2024, 04:02 PM
Updated 04/21/2024, 10:15 PM

MOSUL, Iraq (Reuters) -At least five rockets were launched from Iraq's town of Zummar towards a U.S. military base in northeastern Syria on Sunday, two Iraqi security sources and a U.S. official told Reuters.

The attack against U.S. forces is the first since early February when Iranian-backed groups in Iraq stopped their attacks against U.S. troops.

It comes a day after Iraqi Prime Minister Mohammed Shia al-Sudani returned from a visit to the United States, where he met with President Joe Biden at the White House.

A post on a Telegram group affiliated with Kataib Hezbollah said armed factions in Iraq had decided to resume attacks after a near-three month pause after seeing little progress on talks to end the U.S.-led military coalition in the country.

Another popular Telegram group close to Kataib Hezbollah, Sabreen News, later said there had been no official statement by the Iran-backed faction.

A U.S. official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said more than five rockets were fired from Iraq towards troops at a coalition base in Rumalyn, Syria, but no U.S. personnel were injured.

The official referred to it as a "failed rocket attack," but it was not immediately clear if the rockets had failed to hit the base or been destroyed before they reached. It was also not clear if the base was the target itself.

Following that, the official said, an aircraft from the U.S.-led coalition in Iraq and Syria carried out a strike against the launcher.

Two security sources and a senior army officer in Iraq said a small truck with a rocket launcher fixed on the back had been parked in Zummar, a town on the border with Syria.

An army officer said the destroyed truck was seized for further investigation and initial investigation showed it was destroyed by an air strike.

"We are communicating with the coalition forces in Iraq to share information on this attack," the officer added.

The Iraqi Security Media Cell, an official body responsible for disseminating security information, said in a statement that Iraqi forces had launched "a wide-ranging search and inspection operation" targeting the perpetrators near the Syrian border, pledging to bring them to justice.

The attacks came after a huge blast at a military base in Iraq early on Saturday killed a member of an Iraqi security force that includes Iran-backed groups. The force commander said it was an attack while the army said it was investigating and there were no warplanes in the sky at the time.

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