Rockets fired from Iraq at US-led coalition base in Syria

Rumalyn, Syria - Rockets were fired late Sunday from northern Iraq at a military base in Syria housing a US-led coalition, according to Iraqi security forces.

US troops patrol near an oil field in al-Qahtaniyah in Syria's northeastern Hasakah province.
US troops patrol near an oil field in al-Qahtaniyah in Syria's northeastern Hasakah province.  © DELIL SOULEIMAN / AFP

The coalition said one of its fighter jets in Iraq had "destroyed a launcher in self-defense after reports of a failed rocket attack" near a base in northeast Syria.

"No US personnel were injured," it added in a brief statement to AFP.

It is the first major attack against the coalition forces in several weeks.

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It comes days after Israel reportedly responded to an Iranian attack with a drone strike on the Islamic republic, amid tensions fueled by the brutal siege on Gaza.

Iraqi forces had earlier said they launched a major search operation in the northern Nineveh province and found the vehicle used in the attack.

The statement from the Iraqi security forces accused "outlaw elements of having targeted a base of the international coalition with rockets in the heart of Syrian territory," at around 9:50 PM.

The security forces burned the vehicle involved in the attack, the statement added.

Rami Abdel Rahman, director of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights war monitor, said several rockets had been fired "from Iraqi territory at the Kharab al-Jir base," where US forces are stationed.

He accused the Islamic Resistance in Iraq, a loose alliance of groups, of staging the attack.

The group has claimed most of the attacks on US forces carried between mid-October and early February.

Regional tensions on the rise

People participate in a protest to mark Land Day and to show their support with Gaza, in Baghdad, Iraq.
People participate in a protest to mark Land Day and to show their support with Gaza, in Baghdad, Iraq.  © REUTERS

The Islamic Resistance in Iraq has said it is acting in solidarity with Palestinians and out of anger at US support for Israel in the Gaza assault.

A January 28 drone attack killed three US soldiers in the Jordanian desert on the Syrian border.

In response, the US military struck dozens of targets in Syria and Iraq, drawing criticism from the governments of both countries.

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The United States has around 2,500 soldiers stationed in Iraq and nearly 900 across the border in Syria as part of an international coalition created in 2014.

Sunday night's rocket attack came against the background of increasing tension in the region, with a flare-up between Iran and Israel.

Early on Saturday, an explosion at an Iraqi military base killed one person and wounded eight others.

Security forces said the blast hit the Kalsu military base in Babylon province south of Baghdad, where regular army, police and members of Iraq's Popular Mobilization Forces, or Hashed al-Shaabi, are stationed.

CENTCOM, the US military command in the region, denied involvement in a strike there. The Israeli army refused to comment.

Cover photo: DELIL SOULEIMAN / AFP

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