US moves new missile defense systems to Ain Al-Assad airbase in Iraq

Patriot missiles and 2 other short-range defense systems have been put in place at Ain Al-Assad Airbase, which was hit as a retaliation for the killing of IRGC Commander Qasem Soleimani in January.

U.S. soldiers inspect the site where an Iranian missile hit at Ain al-Asad air base in Anbar province, Iraq January 13, 2020 (photo credit: REUTERS/JOHN DAVISON)
U.S. soldiers inspect the site where an Iranian missile hit at Ain al-Asad air base in Anbar province, Iraq January 13, 2020
(photo credit: REUTERS/JOHN DAVISON)
New US Air defense systems were moved to bases in Iraq to protect US and allied forces, after a string of recent missile attacks by Iran-backed militias has destabilized the region, US officials told the Associated Press on Friday.
Patriot missiles and two other short-range missile defense systems have been put in place at Ain Al-Assad Airbase in Iraq, which was notably hit as a retaliation for the killing of IRGC Commander Qasem Soleimani in January.
David Schenker, assistant secretary of Near Eastern Affairs, told reporters in a teleconference on Thursday that the threat to US forcesin Iraq from Iranian-backed militias "continues to be significant."
Iran-backed paramilitary groups have regularly been shelling bases in Iraq that host US forces, and the area around the US embassy in Baghdad.

On Monday, three Katyusha rockets landed near a district in southern Iraq that houses workers for foreign oil companies, including US oil service company Halliburton. No casualties or damage were reported.
Last week, Trump said Iran or its proxies planned a sneak attack on US targets in Iraq, and warned they would pay a "very heavy price" but gave no details.