In a recent development, U.S. forces stationed at the Ain al-Asad airbase in Iraq faced a missile attack, which was met with a retaliatory strike by U.S. military aircraft. Pentagon spokesperson Sabrina Singh reported that the assault involved close-range ballistic missiles launched by Iran-backed militias. The attack resulted in several minor injuries to U.S. and coalition forces, along with some damage to the base’s infrastructure.
According to Reuters, which cited information from two U.S. officials, the attack led to eight personnel injuries. In response, a U.S. military AC-130 aircraft in the vicinity executed a self-defense operation against the vehicle and members of the Iranian-backed militia responsible for the attack. This counteraction reportedly resulted in casualties among the hostile forces.
The U.S. military has experienced approximately 66 attacks since October 17, with 32 occurring in Iraq and 34 in Syria. Prior to the latest incident, these attacks had caused around 62 injuries to U.S. personnel. These assaults by Iraqi militia groups are believed to be linked to the United States’ support of Israel in its counter-actions against Hamas, following the Palestinian militant group’s earlier attacks on Israel.
This recent airstrike represents the first of its kind reported by the U.S. in Iraq in over two years. The United States maintains a troop presence in the region, with about 900 soldiers in Syria and 2,500 in Iraq. The stated mission of these forces is to provide advice and assistance to local forces to prevent a resurgence of the Islamic State, which had previously seized significant territories in both countries in 2014 before being defeated.