Update: The U.S.-led coalition has confirmed that three of its personnel were killed in the rocket attack on Camp Taji in central Iraq.
Three U.S.-led coalition personnel, two Americans and a British, were killed in the last rocket attack on Camp Taji near the Iraqi capital, Baghdad, two U.S. officials told Reuters on March 11 citing preliminary information.
According to officials, a dozen coalition personnel were also injured in the attack, which took place in the afternoon. The military camp was struck with 15 small rockets fired from a truck-mounted improvised launcher that was parked nearby.
A U.S official confirmed Reuter’s report to the Telegraph. The official said one of the Americans was a servicemen and the other a contractor. He also warned that the number of casualties could rise.
Initially, Iraq’s Security Media Cell claimed that the attack didn’t result in any losses what so ever. The U.S.-led coalition, however, said the damage is being assessed.
“The Coalition confirms more than 15 small rockets impacted Iraq’s Camp Taji base hosting Coalition troops, March 11 at 7:35 p.m. (Iraq Time). Assessment and investigation ongoing,” Col. Myles B. Caggins III, a spokesman for the coalition, said on Twitter.
A few hours after the deadly attack in Iraq a series of airstrikes were reported in eastern Syria. According to the Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA), the airstrikes targeted the vicinity of the city of al-Bukamal on the border with Iraq.
Lebanon’s al-Mayadeen said the airstrikes were carried out by unmanned combat aerial vehicles (UCAVs). The news channel claimed that airstrikes resulted in material losses only.
Several sources reported that the airstrikes were a retaliation by the U.S. to the killing of its service members in Camp Taji, which is the most likely scenario.
— وكالة يونيوز للأخبار (@uunionnews) March 11, 2020
Last December, a similar attack killed a U.S. defense contractor in Iraq’s K1 Base. Back then, the U.S. responded with a series of airstrikes on positions of the Iraqi Popular Mobilization Units (PMU) in Iraq and Syria. Dozens of Shiite fighters were killed.
The situation will likely escalate further in the upcoming few hours. The U.S. appears to be determined to hold the PMU responsible for the repeated attacks on its troops in Iraq, despite the lack of any clear evdince