Ten rockets were launched at the U.S. and ally-occupied Al Asad military base in Iraq early Wednesday. One American contractor suffered a “cardiac episode,” and later died as a result, the Pentagon press secretary announced.
The U.S. DoD has counted ten “impact points” from rockets that are believed to have been launched from points east of the installation. Counter-rocket, artillery and mortar system, or C-RAM, also engaged those rockets, but that there’s no indication now as to how successful the C-RAM’s engagement was against them, the press secretary said.
Just last week there were three other rocket attacks in Iraq. One attack in Irbil killed a U.S. contractor and wounded a service member and others, while an attack in Baghdad’s Green Zone caused property damage. An attack at Balad Air Base also wounded personnel there.
The U.S. responded to those attacks Feb. 25, with airstrikes against infrastructure used by Iranian-backed militant groups in Eastern Syria.
In January 2020, as many as 16 missiles were launched at Al Asad, with 11 of those missiles striking. Although the Iranian missiles damaged equipment and infrastructure at the installation, training and defensive readiness there paid off in no lives being lost, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Army Gen. Mark A. Milley had said.
“We cannot attribute responsibility for the rocket attacks at this time, and we do not have a complete picture of the extent of the damage on base,” John F. Kirby said during a press briefing Wednesday afternoon . “We stand by as needed to assist our Iraqi partners as they investigate.”
“When we conducted this strike last week in Syria,” Kirby said, “we believed that it was measured and proportionate. It was intended to take that compound out and not allow these groups to use it, but also to send a signal about how seriously we take our responsibilities to protect our people.”