Two US troops and a British service member perished in a rocket attack on Camp Taji, the Iraqi base outside Baghdad that hosts US-led coalition troops. Another 12 have been wounded.
A total of 18 rockets struck the base on Wednesday, the US-led coalition against Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS) said in a statement. The dead and wounded have not been officially identified, pending the notification of their next of kin.
-Iraqi Shia militia Harakat Hezbollah al-Nujaba In Albukamal, #Syria.— Aurora Intel (@AuroraIntel) March 11, 2020
In a statement early on Thursday, the Iraqi president’s office condemned the “terrorist attack” that left both trainers and advisers killed and wounded.
This attack is targeting Iraq and its security, and we stress the need to conduct full investigations to determine its background and track the elements responsible for it.
Earlier reports spoke of 10-15 rockets fired on Taji.
US Central Command spokesman Captain William Urban confirmed that two of the coalition casualties were American servicemen. On Thursday morning, the UK Defense Secretary released a statement, announcing that the attack also resulted in the death of a member of the Royal Army Medical Corps.
Camp Taji is a major military base about 27 km north of Baghdad, used by the coalition to train Iraqi security forces. This is the second time it has come under rocket fire since January, when an Iraqi soldier was injured. No group claimed responsibility for these attacks.
Local media have already reported US jets launching reprisal air strikes against a number of Iraqi Shia militias in the Anbar province neighboring Syria, as well as inside Syria.
These militias were also blamed for the December 2019 rocket attack that killed one American at the K-1 air base outside Kirkuk. US reprisal strikes kicked off a cycle of escalation that involved an attempted storming of the US embassy in Baghdad, a US drone strike that killed Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps General Qassem Soleimani in January, and Iranian reprisal involving the targeting of two Iraqi bases that hosted US troops with ballistic missiles.
The Taji incident comes as the Pentagon and Baghdad are locked in a dispute over bringing additional US missile defense systems into Iraq. The US is insisting on doing so, citing an increased threat from Iran, while the Iraqi government continues to insist that all foreign forces should leave the country, as it said in the aftermath of the Soleimani assassination.