Rocket attack hits north Iraq base hosting US troops

Iraqi security forces leave a military base as Kurdish forces take over control in Kirkuk June 11, 2014. (Reuters)
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Updated 13 February 2020

Rocket attack hits north Iraq base hosting US troops

  • It was the first attack on the K1 base since December 27

BAGHDAD: A mortar shell slammed into an air base hosting US troops in northern Iraq late Thursday causing no casualties, two Iraqi security officias said.
The shell struck the K1 Iraqi military air base in Kirkuk province, according to the security sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to brief the media. They provided no additional details.
A rocket attack on the same base in December triggered a chain of retaliatory events that led to soaring US-Iran tensions and brought Iraq to the brink of war.
On Thursday, Iraqi forces conducted a search of the perimeter of the base and discovered a launching pad and 11 unused missiles, a statement from Iraq’s military said.
A rocket attack on K1 killed a US contractor on Dec. 27 and led Washington to conduct an airstrike that killed top Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani and senior Iraqi militia commander Abu Mahdi Al-Muhandis.
The attack infuriated Shiite Iraqi lawmakers who voted to oust US troops from the country in a Jan. 3 Parliament session. Iran retaliated for Soleimani’s killing with a barrage of missiles that targeted two air bases hosting American troops in Irbil and Ain Al-Asad.
Iran and the US have since refrained from further escalation, but the issue of American troops has monopolized Iraqi politics.

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Iran warns of lengthy ‘new way of life’ as virus deaths rise

An Iranian army soldier walks through a temporary hospital in Tehran, Iran, Thursday, March 26, 2020. (AP)
Updated 30 March 2020

Iran warns of lengthy ‘new way of life’ as virus deaths rise

  • Without an official lockdown in place, the government has repeatedly urged Iranians to stay home “as much as possible”

TEHRAN: President Hassan Rouhani has warned that “the new way of life” in Iran was likely to be prolonged, as its declared death toll from the novel coronavirus rose to 2,640.
Iran is one of the countries worst-hit by the virus, which first originated in China.
Iran announced its first infection cases on Feb. 19, but a senior health official has acknowledged that the virus was likely to have already reached Iran in January.
At his daily news briefing, health ministry spokesman Kianoush Jahanpour said 123 more people in Iran had died from the virus in the past 24 hours.
He reported 2,901 new cases of COVID-19 infection, bringing the overall number of officially confirmed cases to 38,309.
According to the official, 12,391 of those hospitalized have recovered and 3,467 are in “critical” condition.
“We must prepare to live with this virus until a treatment or vaccine is discovered, which has not yet happened to date,” President Hassan Rouhani said in a Cabinet meeting.
“The new way of life we have adopted” is to everyone’s benefit, he said, adding that “these changes will likely have to stay in place for some time.”
After weeks of refraining from imposing lockdown or quarantine measures, Tehran decided Wednesday to ban all intercity travel until at least April 8.
Without an official lockdown in place, the government has repeatedly urged Iranians to stay home “as much as possible.” Schools and universities in some provinces were closed in late February and the measure was later extended to the whole country.
After Rouhani’s warning, the reopening of schools following this year’s new year holidays of March 19 to April 3 appears unlikely.

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Iran announced its first infection cases on Feb. 19, but a senior health official has acknowledged that the virus was likely to have already reached Iran in January

On a positive note, Rouhani said he had been told by top health experts and doctors that “in some provinces we have passed the peak (of the epidemic) and are on a downward trajectory.”
Several Iranian government officials and notable figures have been infected by the new coronavirus, some of whom have died.
The most recent case of infection was Mohammed-Reza Khatami, brother of former president Mohammad Khatami and an ex-deputy speaker of parliament.
He is currently hospitalized.
Iraj Harirchi, a deputy health minister who tested positive for the virus in late February, has returned to public life and appeared on state television to emphasize safety precautions.