Monday, March 4, 2024

Several US soldiers suffer brain injuries in ballistic missile attacks on Iraqi base: CENTCOM

In the latest escalation against American forces in the Middle East, militias launched a barrage of ballistic missiles and rockets at Al-Assad airbase in western Iraq on Saturday that left several US personnel wounded, being treated for "traumatic brain injuries", according to a statement from US Central Command.

Most of the incoming missiles and rockets were intercepted by the air defense systems at the base, which is used by both the Iraq and US militaries, but some impacted the base, officials say.

“At approximately 6:30 p.m. (Baghdad time) on January 20, multiple ballistic missiles and rockets were launched by Iranian-backed militants in Western Iraq targeting al-Assad Airbase,” CENTCOM said in a statement.

“Most of the missiles were intercepted by the base’s air defense systems while others impacted on the base. Damage assessments are ongoing,” it added.

“A number of US personnel are undergoing evaluation for traumatic brain injuries. At least one Iraqi service member was wounded.”

Saturday’s attack appears to be the largest of the more than 140 attacks on US troops in Iraq and Syria since mid-October that the US says have been carried out by “Iranian-backed militia groups”.

Iran has stressed that it “neither gives orders to the resistance groups across the region, nor stops them from taking decisions in their own countries based on their own interests”.

Saturday’s attack comes amid deepening tensions in the Middle East more than three months after Hamas’ cross-border attack into Israel, which prompted the Gaza war.

Since the onset of the conflict, US military forces have been attacked in Iraq on at least 58 occasions, and another 83 times in Syria by militants. Most of these attacks use rockets or one-way attack drones.

The US currently has about 2,500 troops stationed in Iraq and another 900 in Syria.

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