Two rockets fired at Baghdad airport base housing US troops

Sunday evening attack is second strike in 10 days

FILE PHOTO: A view of  Baghdad international Airport, after Iraq has suspended flights at its domestic airports as the coronavirus spreads, in Baghdad, Iraq March 17, 2020. REUTERS/Thaier Al-Sudani/File Photo

Two rockets on Sunday were fired at an airbase at Iraq's Baghdad airport housing US-led coalition troops, in the second such attack in 10 days, the Iraqi army said.

One of the projectiles was intercepted by the C-Ram counter-rocket, artillery and mortar system installed to protect US troops in Iraq, a security source told AFP.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack, which the army said caused no casualties.

Washington blames Iran-linked Iraqi factions for such attacks on its troops and diplomats.

Tehran and Washington have both had a presence since 2003 in Iraq, where 2,500 US troops are still posted.

Last week, three rockets hit the part of the Baghdad airport base occupied by Iraqi troops, wounding one soldier.

Almost 30 rocket or bomb attacks have been launched at US troops, embassy or Iraqi supply convoys to foreign forces since President Joe Biden took office in January.

Two foreign contractors, one Iraqi contractor and eight Iraqi civilians have been killed in the strikes.

Dozens of other attacks were carried out from autumn 2019 under the administration of Biden's predecessor, Donald Trump.

The operations are sometimes claimed by obscure groups that experts say are smokescreens for Iran-backed organisations long present in Iraq.

The strikes come at a sensitive time as Iran is in talks with world powers aimed at bringing the US back into a 2015 nuclear deal.

The agreement, which curbs Iran's nuclear programme in exchange for sanctions relief, has been shaky since Mr Trump withdrew the US from it in 2018.

Pro-Iran Iraqi groups have vowed to increase attacks to force out the "occupying" US forces in recent months, sometimes against Tehran's wishes, some experts say.