February 24, 2024

(CNN) — U.S. personnel had been injured in a ballistic missile assault on Al-Asad Air Base in Iraq on Saturday, two U.S. officers mentioned.

The assault resulted in minor accidents, the officers mentioned, although it was not instantly clear what number of personnel had been injured.

U.S. Central Command confirmed the assault Saturday night and mentioned in a press release that “a quantity” of U.S. personnel are being evaluated for traumatic mind accidents.

A number of ballistic missiles and rockets focused the bottom and, whereas most had been intercepted by the bottom’s air defenses, some made affect, the CENTCOM statement said.

The usage of extra highly effective ballistic missiles, far rarer than rockets or one-way assault drones, comes at a time of rising rigidity within the area because the Israel-Hamas struggle passes 100 days.

U.S. and coalition forces have confronted elevated threats from Iranian-backed Shia militias for the reason that begin of the struggle. As of Thursday, U.S. and coalition forces had come underneath assault greater than 143 instances in Iraq and Syria since October 7; Saturday’s incident seems to be the second time ballistic missiles have been used to assault the US.

The Islamic Resistance in Iraq, an Iranian-backed militia group, claimed accountability for Saturday’s assault.

In a press release, the group emphasised its dedication to resisting American “occupation forces” within the area and cited the assault as a response to what it known as the “Zionist entity’s massacres” in opposition to the Palestinian folks in Gaza. The group didn’t present any proof for its declare.

In November, militants in Iraq fired close-range ballistic missiles at coalition forces, prompting the US to hold out airstrikes in opposition to amenities utilized by the Iranian-backed group Kataib Hezbollah, which has been chargeable for lots of the rocket and drone assaults in opposition to the coalition.

U.S. forces in Iraq and Syria function as a part of the coalition to defeat ISIS. However the Iraqi authorities has known as for worldwide forces to in the end depart the nation after U.S. strikes focusing on Kataib Hezbollah amenities — which marked the primary time the Biden administration had carried out strikes in Iraq for the reason that struggle in Gaza started — triggered rigidity with the Iraqi authorities.

“We imagine that reorganizing the connection by way of ending its presence will forestall extra tensions and entanglement of inside and regional safety points,” Iraqi Prime Minister Mohammed Shia al-Sudani advised Reuters earlier this month.

The UN secretary-general’s particular consultant for Iraq has additionally warned that the area is at a “important juncture” with the struggle in Gaza, saying in a press release that Iraq is liable to being additional drawn into the battle.

“Regardless of the Authorities’s efforts to stop the escalation of tensions, continued assaults — originating from inside and out of doors of Iraq’s borders — stand to undo the hard-won stability of the nation and the achievements it has made lately,” the assertion mentioned.

The Pentagon has maintained that the presence of its forces continues to be on the invitation of the Iraqi authorities and nothing has modified. Nationwide safety adviser Jake Sullivan met with al-Sudani earlier this week in Davos, Switzerland, and the 2 mentioned the “significance of sustaining a powerful bilateral partnership,” the White Home mentioned in a readout.