Washington/Baghdad: The US military base at Kirkuk in northern Iraq, came under rocket fire involving as many as 30 rockets. An American contractor was killed while a few US soldiers were injured in the attack. The Iran-backed militia, Popular Mobilisation Forces (PMF) is suspected of involvement in the attacks. Furthermore, the United States warned that if the Iraq government does not put a stop to the attacks on the US military bases, whatever followed would not be under anybody’s control.
The joint forces of the US and allied countries informed about the Kirkuk attack. On Friday evening, the US military base came under fierce rocket attacks with at least 30 rockets targeting the base. A weapons depot at the base was destroyed in the attack. Also, the United States and the Iraqi security agencies informed that a US defence contractor was killed, and the number of casualties was likely to rise. Later, the Iraqi security agencies traced the origin of the rocket attacks.
The attack is believed to be the most extensive attack targeting US interests in the last few years. No organisation has accepted responsibility for the rocket attacks. Even though the ISIS and other Iran-backed groups have a strong influence on Kirkuk, the PMF is strongly suspected of being involved. Previously, the United States had warned of the PMF being a much significant threat for the US interests in Iraq than the ISIS.
At the start of December, US Vice President Mike Pence had visited the US soldiers deployed at the Al-Assad airport. Just four days after the visit, five rockets were fired at the airport. Before that, in November, 12 rocket attacks were launched on the Qayyarah airbase in northern Iraq, where the US troops were deployed as well.
The US soldiers are thus evidently on target in Iraq for the last one month. The United States had accused the Iran-backed PMF of being responsible for the previous attacks as well. The country expected the Iraqi government to take the initiative to stop the PMF attacks that targeted the interests of the US and allied nations. Additionally, the US withdrew its diplomats from its embassy in Iraq.
Meanwhile, US Secretary for Defence, Mark Esper candidly threatened Iraq. Esper said, “Iraq is completely responsible for stopping the attacks on the US interests in the country. Otherwise, the United States has the full authority, to act for the security of its soldiers. If the United States uses its rights, it will not be in anyone’s interest.’
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