Iraq: two soldiers injured in rocket attack on Balad Air Base

Military source says one wounded soldier is in critical condition

Iraqi forces search the area in Tarmiyah, 35 kilometres (20 miles) north of Baghdad on February 20, 2021, following clashes with Islamic State group fighters. Iraqi security forces clashed with the Islamic State group north of Baghdad, leaving at least five jihadists and two security personnel dead. A joint force of army troops and state-sponsored tribal fighters raided an IS hideout in the leafy plains of Tarmiyah, according to a statement from the military. / AFP / AHMAD AL-RUBAYE
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Unknown militants attacked a major Iraqi airbase hosting US soldiers north of Baghdad with rockets on Sunday night, injuring two Iraqi soldiers, the Joint Operation Command said.

The rockets that hit Balad Air Base were fired from the Dojama area in Kahlis district, the command said, describing the attacks as “hideous acts” and vowed "a tough response".

A military source said one of the wounded soldiers was in a critical condition.

He said the base runway suffered minor damage.

No group has immediately claimed responsibility for the attack, but Iraqi and US officials have blamed Iran-backed militias for past strikes.

The base hosts American contractors who work on Iraq's F-16 fighter jet programme.

It has been one of the targets for the militias in recent months as part of efforts to drive the nearly 2,500 Americans out of Iraq, calling their presence an “occupation”.

The militias increased their attacks against the US in the country after the American drone attack that killed Iranian commander Qassem Suleimani and Abu Mahdi Al Muhandis, a leader of Iraq's Popular Mobilisation Forces, in January 2020.