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US Secretary of State ‘outraged’ by attack on Iraqi base

Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo delivers remarks to the media in the Press Briefing Room, at the Department of State, in Washington D.C., on January 7, 2020. (U.S. State Department photo by Ron Przysucha)

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

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said he is “outraged” by a rocket attack on an Iraqi air base on January 12.

“Outraged by reports of another rocket attack on an Iraqi airbase. I pray for [the] speedy recovery of the injured and call on the government of #Iraq to hold those responsible for this attack on the Iraqi people accountable,” he said on Twitter. “These continued violations of Iraq’s sovereignty by groups not loyal to the Iraqi government must end.”

At least seven mortar shells struck an Iraqi air base north of Baghdad, wounding four Iraqi soldiers.

Some of the shells hit the runway of the Balad air base, where some U.S. military personnel are based.

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There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack, which comes amid heightened tensions between the United States and Iran.

Military bases in Iraq hosting U.S. troops have been targeted by rocket and mortar attacks from Iran-backed militias in recent months. One U.S. contractor was killed in such an attack in December.

On January 8, Iran launched missile attacks against two such bases in Iraq in retaliation for an earlier U.S. drone strike that killed top Iranian military commander Major General Qasem Soleimani.