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Military and security personnel remanded in inquiry for Ain al-Assad attack

Category: Iraq News

Date: 2021-03-03T17:07:57+0000
Military and security personnel remanded in inquiry for Ain al-Assad attack

Shafaq News/ Iraqi security authorities remanded in custody military and security officers and personnel detained in connection with the rocket attack on Ain al-Asad airbase in al-Anbar governorate, a military source revealed.

A military source from inside the Airbase told Shafaq News Agency, "preliminary inquiries revealed dysfunction in the checkpoints in the north and the east of the base. The security cameras showed that the vehicles carrying the rocket passed through the checkpoint unsearched. Investigations are underway with the personnel in charge of this checkpoint."

"Early indicators imply that the perpetrators used fake identities and covers that enabled them to cruise through the checkpoints unsearched," he added, "the vehicle has been stolen from Baghdad a while ago as by a report to Baghdad's police."

The source added that the base's perimeter was sealed, and forces in charge of the checkpoints were changed and enhanced. Only the residents of the villages nearby the base were eligible to enter. 

The rocket attack was the first since the U.S. struck Iran-aligned factions targets along the Iraq-Syria border last week, killing one fighter and stoking fears of another cycle of tit-for-tat attacks as happened last year. Those attacks culminated in the U.S. drone strike that killed Iranian Gen. Qassim Soleimani in Baghdad.

No one claimed responsibility for Wednesday’s attack, which comes two days before Pope Francis is scheduled to visit the country amid concerns about security and the COVID-19 pandemic. The much-anticipated trip will include stops in Baghdad, southern Iraq, and the northern city of Irbil.

The rockets struck Ain Asad airbase in Anbar province early in the morning, U.S.-led coalition spokesperson Col. Wayne Marotto said.

Kirby said the rockets were fired from east of the base.

Iran struck the base with a barrage of missiles in January of last year in retaliation for the killing of Soleimani.

Dozens of U.S. service members suffered concussions in that strike.

The Iraqi military released a statement saying that Wednesday’s attack did not cause significant losses and that security forces had found the launch pad used for the rockets — a truck.

A U.S. contractor died when the rockets slammed into the airbase housing U.S. and other coalition troops in western Iraq, the Pentagon said.

Pentagon spokesperson, John Kirby, said the contractor “suffered a cardiac episode while sheltering” and died shortly afterward. 

He said there were no service members injured, and all are accounted for.

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