4 military personnel wounded in rocket attack on army base in Iraq's Salahudin province

Source: Xinhua| 2020-01-13 02:12:02|Editor: yan
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BAGHDAD, Jan. 12 (Xinhua) -- Four Iraqi airforce personnel were wounded on Sunday in a round of rocket barrage on the Balad airbase in Iraq's central province of Salahudin, said the Iraqi military.

A statement by the media office affiliated with the Iraqi Joint Operations Command said that eight Katyusha rockets landed on the airbase, which previously housed U.S. troops and is located some 90 km north of Iraqi capital Baghdad, injuring two officers and two soldiers.

The Balad air base is the largest military air base in Iraq, also known by the U.S. forces as Logistics Support Activity (LSA) Anaconda.

The airbase was housing a number of U.S. troops and advisors of a U.S. company operating the Iraqi F-16 jet fighters, but they withdrew about a week ago after the international U.S.-led coalition announced the suspension of its operations against the Islamic State (IS) militants in Iraq.

No group has so far claimed responsibility for the attack, which came a few days after Qais al-Khazali, leader of the Iraqi Iran-backed Shiite militia Asa'ib Ahl al-Haq, said the Iranian initial response to the killing of the Iranian military leader is done and it is time for Iraq to respond to the U.S. airstrike.

Al-Khazali's threat came after Iran fired ballistic missiles on Wednesday on military bases housing U.S. troops in Iraq's western province of Anbar and near the city of Erbil, capital of the semi-autonomous region of Kurdistan.

On Jan. 3, a U.S. drone attacked a convoy near Baghdad International Airport, killing Qassem Soleimani, commander of the Quds Force of Iran's Islamic Revolution Guards Corps, and Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, deputy chief of Iraq's paramilitary Hashd Shaabi forces.

More than 5,000 U.S. troops have been deployed in Iraq to support the Iraqi forces in the battles against Islamic State militants.