21 Jan 2024

Iranian-backed militants attack US Airbase in Iraq; several US personnel injured

Iranian-backed militants launched multiple rockets and ballistic missiles on Saturday at Washington's al-Assad Airbase in Western Iraq, resulting in injuries to several US personnel. According to the US Central Command (CENTCOM), the attack occurred at approximately 6:30 pm (Baghdad time) on January 20.

The airbase's defense systems intercepted most of the missiles, but some impacted the base. Ongoing damage assessments reveal that several US personnel are undergoing evaluation for traumatic brain injuries, and at least one Iraqi service member was wounded in the assault.

Islamic Resistance in Iraq has taken the responsibility

An organization called 'Islamic Resistance in Iraq' has taken the responsibility of targeting Al Asad airbase.

According to the US-based Washington Institute for Near East Policy, this group emerged in late 2023. This includes many armed groups of Iran operating in Iraq.

It has carried out several other attacks against US forces in recent weeks. Al Asad base has been attacked several times in the last few years.

The US military said most of the missiles fired on Saturday were intercepted. However, some dodged the air defense and targeted the base. The damage caused by this is being assessed.

This is the latest attack by Iran-linked organizations on American bases in Iraq and Syria after the war broke out between Israel and Gaza in October last year.

US conducts airstrikes against Houthi anti-ship missile

Additionally, on the same day, the US conducted airstrikes against a Houthi anti-ship missile in the Gulf of Aden, which was poised for launch. The US Central Command cited the missile as a threat to merchant vessels and US Navy ships, justifying the strike as an act of self-defense. This marked the fourth preemptive action taken by the US military in the Red Sea amid escalating tensions. 

Recently, the US targeted Houthi rebels in Yemen, destroying three anti-ship missiles in the Red Sea. The White House confirmed the designation of the Houthi group as a "terrorist" organization in response to its ongoing attacks and threats to shipping, imposing sanctions. The designation takes effect after 30 days.

It would not impact our operations: Houthis 

Despite the designation, the Houthis asserted that it would not impact their operations to prevent Israeli ships or vessels heading to Israel from crossing the Red Sea, the Arabian Sea, and the Bab al-Mandeb Strait. The Houthis, supporting the Palestinian armed group Hamas, initiated attacks in response to Israel's actions in Gaza, affecting trade routes between Asia and Europe and causing concern among major world powers, as reported by Al Jazeera.

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