U.S. defensive systems again shot down an explosive-laden “suicide drone” targeting a base in Iraq hosting U.S. and coalition forces on Thursday.
BBC correspondent Nafiseh Kohnavard tweeted footage of the shootdown on Thursday.
“BREAKING. Footage shows US defensive systems engage a ‘suicide drone’ outside Ain Al Asad Air Base early this morning, 6th Jan,” Kohnavard tweeted. “This time it is not C-RAM, it seems that COYOTE Anti Drone System was used to shoot this one down.”
At least four other explosive drones have been shot down around Iraqi bases hosting U.S. troops this week.
The COYOTE Anti Drone System is a small, expendable tube-launched drone that crashes into or detonates an explosive near an enemy drone to disable it.
Other drones have been shot down this week with Counter-Rocket Artillery and Mortar (C-RAM) systems.
The first two “suicide drones” were shot down on Monday, Jan. 3, near Camp Victory, a base formerly used by U.S. troops at the Baghdad International Airport. No group claimed responsibility for the attempted drone attacks, but the drone attacks coincided with the two-year anniversary of the U.S. strike that killed Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani in Baghdad. Iran has called for revenge against the U.S. and on the wings of one of the downed drones were the words “Leader’s revenge” and “Soleimani’s revenge.” Explosive “suicide drones” have also become increasingly popular among Iran-backed Iraqi paramilitary groups.
U.S. defensive systems shot down two more “suicide drones” the next day, on Jan. 4, near the Ain Al Asad Air Base.
“BREAKING Footage taken by US defensive systems, C-RAM at Ain Al Asad Air Base shows the moment that ‘two suicide drones’ were engaged & shot down,” Khonavard tweeted on Tuesday.
On Wednesday, yet another string of attacks was launched against bases in Iraq and Syria that host U.S. and coalition forces. This time, attackers used rockets and other indirect fire weapons to harass U.S. and coalition forces.
One Wednesday attack took place at Green Village, a Syrian Democratic Forces base with a small U.S. and Coalition advisory presence in northeast Syria. In a press release, U.S. military officials said they observed several launch sites for indirect fire rockets being set up in civilian areas near the Syrian base and assessed “Iran-supported malign actors” were responsible for the attacks. U.S. forces responded to the rocket attack with six rounds of artillery directed towards the point of attack.
Later on Wednesday the Ain Al-Asad Air Base came under rocket attack, as did the Al-Nasr military camp west of Baghdad.
The five rockets fired at Ain Al-Asad Air Base reportedly fell short and Iraqi security forces launched search efforts for those responsible.
Iraqi security forces also responded to the rocket attacks launched near Al-Nasr camp and uncovered a launch site with an unfired 240mm rocket.
During a Tuesday press briefing, Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said U.S. troops “clearly are at risk in the region,” adding, “we have to take that threat very seriously. We always have the right of self-defense.”
On Dec. 9, 2021, the U.S.-led coalition in Iraq officially shifted from a combat role to a support role in the country. Operation Inherent Resolve’s mission has been to defeat the Islamic State terrorist group, also known as Daesh or ISIS. U.S. troops in the country have consistently remained at risk even as the counter-ISIS mission has wound down.