Rockets fired from Iraq towards coalition base in Syria

(Baghdad) Rockets were launched Sunday evening from northern Iraq towards a base of the international anti-jihadist coalition in neighboring Syria, announced Iraqi security forces who say they found and set fire to the vehicle used to carry out these shots.

This is the first major attack against troops of the coalition led by Washington, after several weeks of calm.

This winter, armed pro-Iran factions carried out dozens of rocket attacks and drone strikes against American soldiers deployed in the Middle East, against the backdrop of the war in Gaza between the Palestinian movement Hamas and Israel.

From the province of Nineveh, in northern Iraq bordering Syria, “outlaw elements targeted with rockets an international coalition base in the heart of Syrian territory, around 9:50 p.m.” (2:50 p.m. Eastern time), an Iraqi security forces media unit said in a statement.

A “vast search and inspection operation” was launched on Sunday evening to find the perpetrators of the shooting, according to the press release, which specifies that the police set fire to the vehicle found.

An official in Ninawa province, speaking on condition of anonymity, confirmed that “the rocket attacks” had been carried out from an area north of Mosul, in the Zummar district.

Questioned by AFP, the director of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (OSDH), Rami Abdel Rahmane, reported “several rockets fired from Iraqi territory towards the Kharab al-Jir base” which shelters “American forces” in northeast Syria.

American forces

These rockets, at least one of which fell within the base compound, according to Mr. Abdel Rahmane, were preceded by the sending of a drone belonging to pro-Iran factions which was shot down.

The OSDH, which has a vast network of sources across Syria at war, pointed the finger at the responsibility of the “Islamic Resistance in Iraq”, a nebula of fighters from pro-Iran armed groups.

It is this same nebula which carried out most of the attacks against American soldiers in the coalition between mid-October and early February in Iraq and Syria.

In its press releases, the group says it is acting in solidarity with the Palestinians, against the backdrop of the war in Gaza.

A drone attack on January 28 killed three American soldiers in the middle of the Jordanian desert, on the Syrian border. In retaliation for the attacks against its personnel, Washington toughened its tone and carried out several strikes in Iraq but also in Syria against pro-Iran factions.

Since the beginning of February, however, there has been a relative calm between the two camps.

The United States deploys around 2,500 soldiers in Iraq and nearly 900 in neighboring Syria, committed to the international coalition created in 2014 to fight the Islamic State (IS) group.

Sunday evening’s rocket attacks took place in an explosive regional context, fueled by the war in Gaza and the tensions between Israel and Iran.

Early Saturday, an “explosion” on a military base in Iraq left one dead and injured, with security officials calling it a “bombardment” against the former pro-Iran paramilitaries of Hachd al-Chaabi.

The US Middle East Military Command (Centcom) denied any involvement. Questioned by AFP, the Israeli army refused any comment.

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