Iraqi Gains Reduce Attacks on US Base

Iraqi advances have reduced the number of attacks on the US firebase where a Marine was killed by an ISIS rocket attack March 19, a deputy commander for Operation Inherent Resolve said Thursday. During a Pentagon briefing, British army Maj. Gen. Doug Chalmers said Iraqi forces have made “a steady and pretty confident progress” since they stepped off their line toward Mosul. Their advances, Chalmers said, have disrupted the direct attacks on the US firebase—set up near Makhmur, in northern Iraq, to defend US advisors and Iraqi troops training to retake Mosul—and caused the number of attacks to “drop down” since USMC SSgt. Louis Cardin died. Cardin, who was assigned to the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit, was killed when ISIS launched two Katyusha rockets at the independent operating base. Chalmers said ISIS attacks are now more concentrated on the advancing Iraqis. “There’s still the occasional indirect fire attack [on the firebase],” he said, “but even that seems to have dropped down to where it was earlier on.” Marine Gen. Joseph Dunford, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, predicted last Friday the number of US forces in Iraq could increase in the coming weeks as Iraqi forces work to regain territory once claimed by ISIS. (Watch the briefing.)