Rockets again land near Iraqi base, US-led coalition forces not injured

The rocket fire increased after May when US-Iran tensions grew.

U.S. army soldiers fuel a military truck at Qayyara airbase west of Mosul, Iraq, August 10, 2017 (photo credit: REUTERS/SUHAIB SALEM)
U.S. army soldiers fuel a military truck at Qayyara airbase west of Mosul, Iraq, August 10, 2017
(photo credit: REUTERS/SUHAIB SALEM)
Rockets fell on Friday evening near Iraq’s Qayyarah base, which has been used in the past by the anti-ISIS coalition to aid Iraq’s operations against the extremists. No coalition troops were injured, according to US Marine Corps Capt. Marisa Roberts, the deputy spokeswoman for the US-led coalition.
The coalition says that it appreciates the “Iraqi Security Forces’ immediate response and investigation” of the rocket attack, which occurred around 7:45 p.m. Initial reports at Al-Arabiya said 17 projectiles fell.
The US did not say how many, only noting “several.” Coalition forces are in Iraq at the invitation of the government of Iraq to defeat ISIS.
“We will not be deterred by these attacks and maintain the right to defend ourselves,” Roberts indicated.
The Qayyarah base was important for the battle of Mosul in 2016 and 2017. US forces used it after it was liberated from ISIS. It is often called Q-West airbase among some forces stationed there. It is an important base in northern Iraq for the Iraqis. It is also near an important strategic road junction near Qayyarah.
This round of rocket fire near the base in Iraq is one of many in recent months, which increased after May when US-Iran tensions grew. However, it is not clear who is firing the rockets and mortars. In January and February this year, US troops allegedly came into some friction with pro-Iranian Popular Mobilization Units in Nineveh plains and Anbar province.
Iranian media reported that US forces had been stopped at checkpoints. In May, a rocket landed near the US Embassy in Baghdad’s Green Zone. More rockets and projectiles have fallen near the Green Zone since late September.
In addition, mortars and rockets were reported to have fallen near Camp Taji, a base, on June 17 and October 28. In another incident in mid-June, mortars fell near Balad Air Base. A pro-Iranian militia allegedly fired rockets at Saudi Arabia in mid-May as well. In mid-June 2018, a US consulate in Basra was also threatened by rocket fire. The pattern of rocket fire is hard to ignore. So far the groups doing it have not been apprehended.
The Iraqi security forces are fighting against ISIS daily in raids and operations designed to defeat the remnants of the group. A coalition roundup of different activities notes that in Nineveh, in northern Iraq, a search and raid mission caught eight suspects. ISIS “bed down” locations were found. Weapons were found south of Baghdad in a raid.
Iraq’s 1st Infantry Division carried out a raid and the 16th brigade of the PMU also hit ISIS positions near Kirkuk. A house was also raided by the Anbar Operations command. Operation Inherent Resolve spokesman Myles Caggins III has posted a photo of one of the raids and recently stressed the importance of the Kurdistan Regional Government’s Peshmerga forces in fighting ISIS. He also noted 30 countries have contributed military forces to the coalition, which has around 80 partners around the world.