search

For 2nd time in as many days, armed drones shot down in attack on US troops in Iraq

US-led coalition says fixed-wing drones carrying explosives flew toward the Ain al-Asad airbase, which houses American soldiers fighting Islamic State group

Parts of the wreckage of a drone are laid out on the ground near the Ain al-Asad airbase, in the western Anbar province of Iraq, January 4, 2022. (International Coalition via AP)
Parts of the wreckage of a drone are laid out on the ground near the Ain al-Asad airbase, in the western Anbar province of Iraq, January 4, 2022. (International Coalition via AP)

BAGHDAD (AP) — Two explosives-laden drones targeting an Iraqi military base housing US troops in western Anbar province were destroyed on Tuesday, a coalition official said.

It was the second such attempted attack coinciding with the anniversary of the 2020 US airstrike that killed a top Iranian general near the Baghdad airport. On Monday, two armed drones were shot down as they headed toward a facility housing US advisers at Baghdad airport.

According to the official, the fixed-wing drones rigged with explosives were engaged and destroyed by defensive capabilities at the Ain al-Asad airbase. An Iraqi military statement confirmed the attempted attack, saying the drones were shot down outside the parameters of the airbase. The base houses troops with the US-led international coalition fighting the Islamic State group in Iraq.

In Monday’s attack, the drones were shot down by the C-RAM defense system that protects American installations in Iraq, and there were no reports of damage or injuries from the incident. No group claimed responsibility for the attack, although one of the wings of the drones had the words “Soleimani’s revenge” painted on it, according to the coalition and Iraqi officials.

“These are attacks against Iraqi installations and an attack against the Iraqi people and the military that protects them,” the coalition official said. “We maintain a minimal footprint on Iraqi bases.”

“The coalition no longer has its own bases in Iraq,” the official added, speaking on condition of anonymity in line with regulations.

Parts of the wreckage of a drone are laid out on the ground near the Ain al-Asad airbase, in the western Anbar province of Iraq, Jan. 4, 2022. (International Coalition via AP)

The 2020 US drone strike at Baghdad’s airport killed Gen. Qassim Soleimani, who was the head of Iran’s elite Quds Force, and Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, deputy commander of Iran-backed militias in Iraq known as the Popular Mobilization Forces.

Pro-Iran Shiite factions in Iraq have vowed revenge for the killing and have conditioned the end of attacks against the US presence in Iraq on the full exit of American troops from the country.

The US-led coalition formally ended its combat mission supporting Iraqi forces in the ongoing fight against the Islamic State group last month. Some 2,500 troops will remain as the coalition shifts to an advisory mission to continue supporting Iraqi forces.

“While we have ended our combat mission, we maintain the inherent right of self-defense,” the coalition official said Tuesday.

read more:
comments
Never miss breaking news on Israel
Get notifications to stay updated
You're subscribed