United States troops in Iraq have been targeted in new attacks using drones and explosives, military and security sources reported.
Three attacks took place on Thursday, the sources told Reuters. The incidents add to the more than 40 assaults that US and allied troops based across the Middle East have come under since the Israel-Hamas war started on October 7.
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As well as two drone assaults at bases, a US-led coalition convoy was hit by an improvised explosive device (IED) blast in the vicinity of Mosul Dam.
Drone attacks targeted American and coalition forces at the Ain al-Asad airbase west of Baghdad and al-Harir airbase in Erbil. Both drones were destroyed before reaching their target, the sources said.
A statement from Iraqi Kurdistan’s counterterrorism service added that the attack at al-Harir had caused a fire at one of its fuel depots, but added that US-led coalition forces had evacuated the airbase on October 20.
Since the war between Israel and Hamas began, US and coalition troops have been attacked at least 40 times in Iraq and Syria. So far, 56 American personnel have been injured in these attacks, although all have returned to duty, according to the Pentagon.
The US has accused Iran of “actively facilitating” rocket and drone attacks by Iranian-backed proxy groups on its forces in Iraq and Syria.
Tehran denies these claims, saying groups engaging in the attacks were doing so on their own accord.
Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian has said that Tehran “neither gives orders to the resistance groups across the region, nor stop them from taking decisions in their own countries based on their own interests”.
On Friday, he stated that it is “inevitable” that the scope of the war in Gaza will expand.
The groups in Iraq who have targeted US military assets say the attacks will continue as long as the US supports Israel in its war on Gaza.
The US has occasionally retaliated against Iranian-backed forces in the region, including a strike on October 26 in Syria.
US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin asserted in a statement that Washington “does not seek conflict and has no intention nor desire to engage in further hostilities”.
But he added that “these Iranian-backed attacks against US forces are unacceptable and must stop”.