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Iraqi base that hosts US troops hit by mortars

An aerial photo of Joint Base Balad, Iraq, after all U.S. forces departed the base Nov. 8, 2011. (Sgt. Quentin Johnson/U.S. Marines Corps)

This article was originally published by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and is reprinted with permission.

The Iraqi military says three mortar shells have hit an Iraqi Air Force base just north of Baghdad where U.S. soldiers are training Iraqi forces.

In a statement, Iraq’s military said the shelling early on June 15 ignited a small fire at Balad Air Base but did not result in any casualties.

The attack occurred amid rising tension in the Middle East between the United States and Iran, which intensified on June 13 after suspected Iranian attacks on two oil tankers near the Strait of Hormuz.

Iran has denied involvement.

The crisis is rooted in the U.S. withdrawal last year from the 2015 nuclear deal between Tehran and world powers.

Washington subsequently reimposed sanctions on Iran and has been pressuring other countries, including U.S. allies, to join the renewed sanctions.