3 Killed, at Least 12 Wounded in Rocket Attack on Base in Iraq

Two Americans and one coalition service member were killed and another 12 people were wounded in a March 11 rocket attack on Camp Taji, Iraq.

Eighteen 107mm Katyusha rockets, which are traditionally linked to Iranian-backed militias, struck the base, located north of Baghdad. Iraqi Security Forces located the launcher, on the back of a truck, “a few miles” from the base, which hosts coalition personnel as well as rotary wing aircraft, Combined Joint Task Force-Operation Inherent Resolve said in a statement. Five of the injured personnel were medically evacuated in serious condition, The Washington Post reported.

The names and specific services of the personnel killed in the attack have not been released, pending next of notification. Four U.S. service members have been killed inside Iraq within the week, after two U.S. Marine Corps Raiders were killed fighting the Islamic State group in a mountainous region in the north of the country on March 8.

The March 11 attack occurred shortly before Defense Secretary Mark Esper was set to give a speech at the National Defense University in Washington, which was abruptly canceled.

Tensions between the U.S. and Iran have been high for months. The latest attack is similar to the Dec. 27 attack on an American base that killed a U.S. contractor, and resulted in a series of U.S. airstrikes on Iran-linked groups, eventually leading to the January airstrike in Baghdad that killed Iranian military leader Qasem Soleimani.

Iran responded to that strike with the Jan. 7 missile attack on al-Asad Air Base in Iraq. President Donald Trump has credited American early warning systems for saving lives in that attack, but the number of troops who have since been diagnosed with traumatic brain injuries has risen to over 100.