Rocket hits Baghdad airport in latest attack on US forces

The latest strike, which caused no casualties or damage, came three days before US-Iraqi talks on future co-operation

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

A rocket landed inside Baghdad airport near to where US forces are based in the latest attack on American forces in the country, the Iraqi military said on Monday night.

While a wave of similar attacks that began in October has since slowed, the latest strike came three days ahead of US-Iraqi talks as part of a "strategic dialogue" including on future military co-operation.

A security official told AFP that the attack caused "no casualties or damage".

Baghdad International Airport is closed under coronavirus lockdown measures in Iraq, which has reported some 13,000 cases including 400 deaths from the disease.

Monday's rocket fire was the 29th such attack against American troops or diplomats since October.

None of the attacks have been claimed, but Washington has accused armed groups backed by its arch-enemy and Iraq's neighbour, Iran.

The US withdrew its forces from Iraq in 2011, eight years after leading the invasion that toppled dictator Saddam Hussein and set off a bitter sectarian conflict.

Thousands of American soldiers were redeployed to the country from 2014 onwards as part of a coalition battling ISIS.

In January a US drone killed Iran's powerful military commander Qasem Suleimani near Baghdad airport, sparking a new escalation in tensions between Washington and Tehran.

In response, Baghdad's parliament voted to expel all foreign soldiers from Iraqi territory, but the decision was never ratified implemented.

Meanwhile, a US military plane crashed into an Iraqi military base north of the capital on Monday without causing fatalities, the US-led coalition said.

Separately, a rocket landed on the periphery of Baghdad airport, the Iraqi military said, without providing further details. There were no reported casualties or damages.

The crash of the C130 in Iraq's Camp Taji injured four servicemen and was deemed an accident, spokesman for the US-led coalition Myles Caggins told the Associated Press.

Mr Caggins said the plane had overshot the runway and crashed into a wall resulting in damage to the aircraft and a small fire.

"Four service members on the plane sustained non-life-threatening injuries and are being treated at Camp Taji's medical facility," Mr Caggins said in a statement after the incident. "Enemy activity is not suspected; the incident remains under investigation."

There were seven crew members and 26 passengers aboard the flight, Iraqi official said. Among the injured were two pilots. The official spoke on condition of anonymity in line with regulations.

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