Missiles fire from Iraq at an American base in Syria

For the first time in more than a month, Iraqi militants fired rockets at US forces in the Middle East. Five rockets were launched from Iraq at a US base in northeastern Syria, Iraqi security forces announced on Sunday evening.

The attack took place around 9:50 pm local time, with the rockets fired from the town of Zummar, northwest of Mosul and relatively close to the Syrian border. In a statement, Iraqi security forces said that “elements of attacking an international coalition base with missiles in the heart of Syrian territory are prohibited.”

No U.S. personnel were injured in the attack, a defense official told Task & Purpose.

“Today, a coalition fighter destroyed a launch vehicle in self-defense following reports of a failed missile attack near the coalition base in Rumalyn, Syria,” the official said.

Reuters meanwhile, citing Iraqi security sources, reports that Iraqi forces found the vehicle used to launch the missiles and set it on fire.

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The attack was launched towards the Kharab al-Jir base in Syria, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said, France 24 reports. The base, located in northeastern Syria near the Iraqi border, is used by US troops and members of the US-led anti-ISIS coalition. It had been attacked earlier in December. The rocket attack marks the first time that troops in Iraq have targeted U.S. installations and personnel since early February. Those attacks wounded dozens of American troops and killed three soldiers at a base in Jordan.

It was not immediately clear which group fired on the Kharab al-Jir base. Khataib Hezbollah, an Iraqi militant group that the US considers a terrorist organization, said Iraqi militant groups were resuming attacks on US bases and personnel, with Sunday’s attack being “the beginning”. The resumption of attacks came after the group said little progress had been made by the Iraqi government to get U.S. troops to withdraw from Iraq. Iraqi Prime Minister Mohammed al-Sudani was in Washington DC last week to meet with President Joe Biden.

On Saturday, an airstrike hit an Iraqi base used by the Popular Mobilization Forces, a coalition of Iraqi militias, wounding three fighters. The PMF, backed by Iran, was made a legitimized part of the Iraqi security apparatus during the war against ISIS. Some of the groups that make up the PMF have taken part in attacks on US forces over the past six months, under the loose umbrella of the Islamic Resistance of Iraq, in protest of US support for Israel during the Gaza war. Although there is an overlap between the PMF and the IRI, they are not the same. US forces have previously targeted members of Khataib Hezbollah, killing a commander in February.

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