Two drones shot down above Iraq base housing US troops: Military

The US’s C-RAM defence system shoots down the drones above the Ain al-Asad base in Iraq’s western desert, the Iraqi army says.

Since the start of this year there have been 39 attacks against US interests in Iraq [File: Ayman Henna/AFP]

The Iraqi army has said that two drones were destroyed above a base housing United States troops, one month after the same base was targeted by an armed drone.

The US military’s C-RAM defence system was activated to shoot down the drones above the Ain al-Asad airbase, located in Iraq’s western desert, the Iraqi military said on Sunday.

Several hours earlier a rocket was shot down above Baghdad airport, “without causing casualties or damage,” said Colonel Wayne Marotto, spokesman for the US-led military coalition in Iraq.

The coalition was sent to Iraq to help the country’s military fight the ISIL (ISIS) group – a campaign that Baghdad declared won in late 2017.

The US military had withdrawn its troops from Iraq in December 2011 under former President Barack Obama, almost nine years after the US-led military invasion toppled longtime Iraqi President Saddam Hussein.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for Sunday’s attack.

The US consistently blames Iran-linked Iraqi factions for rocket attacks against Iraqi installations housing its personnel.

On May 8, an attack by an unmanned aerial surveillance system targeted the Ain al-Asad base, but it caused no injuries.

Since the start of this year, there have been 39 attacks against US interests in Iraq.

The vast majority have been bombs against logistics convoys, while 14 were rocket attacks, some of them claimed by pro-Iran factions, who aim to pressure Washington into withdrawing all their troops.

The use of drones against American interests by these factions is a relatively new tactic, although the US military has previously accused pro-Iran Iraqi groups of helping Yemen’s Houthi rebels carry out attacks using such devices against Saudi interests.

Iran has denied the accusations.

Source: News Agencies