World Rockets target Iraqi air base hosting US forces
Biden, Iraqi PM discuss recent rocket attacks in phone call
The Iraqi PM and the US president say those responsible for recent rocket attacks should be ‘held fully to account’.“The President affirmed US support for Iraq’s sovereignty and independence, and commended the Prime Minister’s leadership,” the White House statement said on Tuesday.
Ten rockets have hit a base hosting US-led coalition forces in western Iraq.
Iraq's military said the rockets caused no significant losses at Al Asad air base, but security sources told AFP news agency that a civilian contractor died after suffering a heart attack.
Last month, a rocket attack in northern Iraq killed a Filipino contractor and injured a US service member.
The US blamed Iran-backed Shia militias and carried out retaliatory air strikes on one of their facilities in Syria.
President Joe Biden said the strikes - the first known use of military force by his administration - were meant as a warning to Iran and its proxies.
US’s first military action under Biden draws criticism
Biden’s approval of US raid in Syria targeting facilities used by Iranian-backed militias critcised in the Middle East.The United States military said it carried out measured attacks on facilities in eastern Syria used by Iran-backed militias, in response to rocket attacks against US targets in Iraq.
But Iraq's paramilitary Popular Mobilisation force, which is dominated by Shia militias, said the "sinful attack" portended "dangerous future developments".
Wednesday's rocket attack on Al Asad, where coalition troops are stationed to assist Iraqi security forces combat the Islamic State group, comes two days before Pope Francis begins a historic visit to Iraq.
The pope has insisted he will not postpone the trip despite his predecessor Benedict XVI and others warning of the risks posed by militant groups and a second wave of the country's Covid-19 epidemic.
"The people cannot be let down for a second time," the 84-year-old said in an address on Wednesday, referring to a cancelled visit by John Paul II in 2000.
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