Rockets again strike US garrison at Iraqi air base, injuring more troops

Rockets again strike US garrison at Iraqi air base, injuring more troops

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U.S. Army Spc. Michael Darnell, assigned to the 1st Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, Task Force Iraq, fires an M4 carbine at a 25-meter zeroing target during weapons training at the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad, Iraq, Feb. 14, 2020. (U.S. Army photo by Spc. Khalil Jenkins)

WASHINGTON — Three U.S military personnel were wounded in the second rocket attack this week against U.S. forces garrisoned in Iraq, the Pentagon said.

At least 25 rockets hit Camp Taji on Saturday, the Pentagon said during a Saturday teleconference briefing with Pentagon reporters.

“Last night, there was a Katyusha rocket attack on U.S., coalition and Iraqi forces at Camp Taji.  We had three U.S. service members who were injured.  Two seriously who are being treated at the military hospital at the Baghdad Airport base.  There were additional injuries to our Iraqi partners,” Jonathan Hoffman, the chief Pentagon spokesperson, said.

“For your expected follow-ups about possible responses – I will simply refer you to the Secretary of Defense’s comments last week: ‘You cannot attack and wound American Service Members and get away with it, we will hold them to account.’  Hoffman said Iraqi Security Forces made an initial arrest and “are investigating the attack with them.

“These rocket attacks are a deadly and dangerous distraction from the coalition’s mission to help the Iraqis with their goal to permanently defeat ISIS,” he said.

Last week, two U.S. military personnel and a British Army medic were killed in a rocket attack at the same base. That triggered U.S. airstrikes on Iranian-backed forces blamed for the attack on Friday, destroying five weapon storage sites housing 107 mm Katyusha rockets, the same rockets used in the two attacks.

The Iraqi military, in a statement, called the act a “brutal aggression” as it left several personnel in “critical condition,” according to news reports.

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