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Rockets hit Iraqi base hosting U.S. contractors

Agence France-Presse



BAGHDAD, Iraq (AFP) — Six rockets were fired Monday evening towards Iraq’s Balad airbase north of Baghdad, lightly wounding a foreign contractor working for a US company, an Iraqi security official told AFP.

Three rockets initially fell in an area where US company Sallyport — the contractor that maintains F-16 aircraft purchased by Iraq from the US — is located, the security source said, requesting anonymity.

A foreign employee of Sallyport was lightly wounded, according to the source.

Three other rockets were fired around 15 minutes later, the source added, saying they fell near the base without hitting it.

Pentagon spokesperson Commander Jessica McNulty said no US or coalition troops were assigned at Balad, but noted that US citizen contractors worked there.
Citing initial reports, McNulty said there were no US casualties or damage.

It is the second attack targeting US interests in under 24 hours, after two rockets Sunday targeted an airbase at Baghdad airport housing US-led coalition troops. Sunday’s attack did not cause casualties.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for either attack.

Around 30 rocket or bomb attacks have targeted American interests in Iraq — including troops, the embassy or Iraqi supply convoys to foreign forces — since President Joe Biden took office in January.

Two foreign contractors, one Iraqi contractor and eight Iraqi civilians have been killed in the attacks.

Washington routinely blames Iran-linked Iraqi factions for such attacks on its troops and diplomats.

In early April, two rockets hit near Balad, without causing casualties or property damage.