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 Guards threatens US over Gulf presence after receiving new combat vessels

Updated 32 min 16 sec ago

Iran Guards threatens US over Gulf presence after receiving new combat vessels

  • Guards’ navy chief warns it is expanding Iran’s naval power

TEHRAN: Iran’s Revolutionary Guards on Thursday warned the United States against its naval presence in the Gulf as they received 110 new combat vessels.
The vessels included Ashura-class speedboats, Zolfaghar coastal patrol boats and Taregh submarines, state television reported.
“We announce today that wherever the Americans are, we are right next to them, and they will feel our presence even more in the near future,” the Guards’ navy chief Rear Admiral Alireza Tangsiri said during a ceremony in southern Iran.
Iran and the United States have appeared to be on the brink of an all-out confrontation twice in the past year.
The latest confrontation between the arch-foes came after the United States accused the Guards of harassing its ships in the Gulf in mid-April.
“Advancing while remaining defensive is the nature of our work,” said Guards commander Maj. Gen. Hossein Salami.
“But this does not equal passivity against the enemy,” he added, noting that Iran “will not bow down to any foe.”
According to Salami, the Guards’ navy had been instructed to expand Iran’s naval power until it can adequately defend “territorial independence and integrity, protect naval interests and pursue and destroy the enemy.”
Decades-old acrimony between the two worsened in 2018 when US President Donald Trump unilaterally withdrew from a deal that gave Iran relief from sanctions in return for curbs on its nuclear program.
Tensions escalated further in January when a US air strike killed Qasem Soleimani, the top Iranian general who headed the Guards’ foreign arm, the Quds Force.