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Rockets Hit Iraqi Air Base Hosting US Troops

Rockets and drones on Thursday evening attacked an air base in western Iraq that hosts American and Coalition forces, and multiple explosions could be heard at the base, Reuters reported, citing Iraqi security sources.

It was not clear if the attack caused any casualties or physical damage, but the Iraqi military had cleared the area around the Ain al-Asad air base and begun search and rescue operations, Reuters reported, citing the sources. Another installation hosting U.S. military personnel near the international airport in Baghdad also came under rocket fire Thursday in the latest of a string of attacks on American positions in the region.

In just over the past 24 hours, four different areas in Iraq and Syria where U.S. troops are present have been attacked, according to Reuters.

“And while I’m not going to forecast any potential response to these attacks I will say that we will take all necessary actions to defend U.S. and Coalition Forces against any threat. Any response should one occur will come at a time in a manner of our choosing,” Pentagon press secretary Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder said earlier on Thursday.

Iran-backed Islamist groups in Iraq have threatened to target American forces if the U.S. intervened to help Israel in its war against Hamas. America has surged U.S. troops and hardware to assist Israel and bolster deterrence against other nefarious regional actors, but insists that no American troops have been given combat orders.

The Pentagon has declined to say whether it suspected Iran was behind the separate attacks.

The U.S. maintains a presence of about 2,500 troops in Iraq and Syria to advise and assist partner forces in the ongoing campaign to defeat the Islamic State, according to Reuters.

The Pentagon clarified reports of earlier drone attacks on U.S. and coalition positions in Iraq and Syria at a press briefing Thursday.

Early Wednesday in Syria, two drones targeted the al-Tanf garrison. U.S. and Coalition troops intercepted one while the other crashed into the base and caused minor injuries to Coalition personnel, Ryder said.

Threat of another attack at al-Asad the same day turned out to be a false alarm, but a U.S. civilian contractor suffered a heart attack after a authorities issued a shelter in place order and died soon after, Ryder said.

On Tuesday, U.S. troops fended off three kamikaze drones attacking al-Asad, destroying one drone and damaging a second, Ryder said. That incident also resulted in minor injuries to coalition forces. American forces took down another drone at Bashur Air Base, located in Northern Iraq.

CENTCOM and the Pentagon did not immediately respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s requests for comment.

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