Military base hosting US troops comes under rocket fire in Iraq, no casualties

A plane carrying US Air Force servicemen takes off from al-Asad air base in Iraq’s western province of Anbar / Reuters

A volley of rockets struck the Ain al-Assad base in western Iraq’s Anbar province, but caused no casualties, according to the Iraqi military. The airbase hosts some US forces still inside the country.

There were no reports of damage or casualties from the rocket fire that came in on Tuesday afternoon, nor has the origin of the missiles been identified.

The shelling comes just over a week after Vice President Mike Pence and his wife Karen visited the US troops there ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday. President Donald Trump had also visited the base on Christmas 2018.

Built in the 1980s and originally named Qadisiyah, the base was taken over by US forces following the 2003 invasion and occupation of Iraq, and renamed Al-Assad (“The Lion” in Arabic). 

Al-Assad served as the largest US base in western Iraq until the end of the occupation in 2011, after which it was handed over to Iraqi security forces. US and allied military advisers were deployed there again in 2014, however, as part of the war against Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS) terrorists.

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