On June 9th, five rockets targeted Iraq’s Balad airbase, with two of the projectiles falling near an area used by US contractors without causing casualties
“There were no victims or damage,” an unnamed official told AFP.
Important, if true. And follows a pattern of multiple locations in #Iraq being targeted by both rockets and drones in one night. On Sunday, rockets were fired on Baghdad Diplomatic Support Center while drones were downed over Ain al-Assad base. https://t.co/t3cwLbws3c
— Jason Brodsky (@JasonMBrodsky) June 9, 2021
While the Balad air base has US contractors, the US has pointed out there it does not have American troops on the base. Nevertheless, it has been a frequent target.
Balad airbase, north of Baghdad, is used by US company Sallyport to service F-16 fighter jets flown by Iraq’s air force and has repeatedly been targeted by rocket fire.
In February, four rockets targeted the base.
In March another five rockets were fired at the base.
On April 18 the US-led Coalition said that “it is being reported that Balad Air Base was attacked with rockets tonight. There are no Coalition/US Forces stationed at Balad Air base.” Six rockets were fired at the base that night.
Another US company, Lockheed Martin, withdrew its staff from the base last month amid concerns about the safety of its personnel.
In June 2019 reports said there were some 400 employees or contractors at the site and some were to be evacuated at that time due to threats. 20 of the remaining 70 Lockheed contractors were supposed to go to Erbil in May according to a report by The Drive.
The US routinely blames such attacks, which also regularly target US interests at other installations, including Baghdad airport, on Iran-backed factions.
In mid-April, explosives-packed drone came crashing into Arbil airport in the first reported use of such a weapon against a base housing US troops in Iraq.
On June 9th, IRGC Quds Force head Esmail Ghaani reportedly arrived in Baghdad. Additionally, Qassam Muslih was released from prison after facing accusations of previous attacks against US forces and killing Iraqi protesters. He is the Al-Tofuf (from the Popular Mobilization Units) brigade commander and allegedly linked to pro-Iran militias.
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