2 Americans, 1 British National Killed In Rocket Attack On Base In Iraq

Mar 12, 2020, 6:27 AM | Updated: 6:29 am

Two Americans and a British national were killed in a rocket attack on the Taji military base in Ir...

Two Americans and a British national were killed in a rocket attack on the Taji military base in Iraq, a US Defense official tells CNN. (STAFF/AFP/Getty Images)

(STAFF/AFP/Getty Images)

(CNN) –– Two Americans and a British national were killed in a rocket attack on a military base in Taji, Iraq, that one US official said is likely the work of Iran, raising the prospect that military tensions could flare up in the region once again.

US Central Command spokesman Capt. William Urban confirmed that two US service members and one coalition service member were killed in the Katyusha rocket attack.

The US will go after the perpetrators inside Iraq, a second defense official told CNN, adding that based on weapons and tactics used, there is every reason to believe Iranian-backed fighters or Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corp were behind the attack.

Col. Myles Caggins, spokesman for the US-led coalition tweeted confirmation, saying the attack took place “March 11 at 7:35 p.m. (Iraq Time). Assessment and investigation ongoing, follow @OIRSpox & @SecMedCell for updates.”

Later on Wednesday the coalition issued a statement on the attack.

“Three Coalition personnel were killed during a rocket attack on Camp Taji, Iraq, March 11. The names of the personnel are withheld pending next of kin notification, in accordance with national policies,” the statement said.

“Approximately 12 additional personnel were wounded during the attack. The attack is under investigation by the Coalition and Iraqi Security Forces. Camp Taji is an Iraqi base that hosts Coalition personnel for training and advising missions,” it added.

A spokesperson for the UK Ministry of Defense said, “We can confirm we are aware of an incident involving UK service personnel at Camp Taji, Iraq. An investigation is underway, it would be inappropriate to comment further at this time.”

Fox News first reported the fatalities.

The US military said in a statement that the Iraqi military found a pickup truck with a rocket launcher mounted in the back and three rockets still in the chambers. The second US defense official told CNN that 18 107mm rockets landed on the base from a launcher that was capable of firing 30, but many did not work.

There have been multiple rocket attacks in Iraq in recent weeks, but Wednesday’s fusillade was the first to cause a US death since December, when a US contractor was killed. That death prompted retaliatory US airstrikes against militia targets in Iraq and Syria. Trump administration officials pointed to the contractor’s death as their justification for air strikes that killed Iran’s second most powerful leader, Gen. Qassem Soleimani and spiked tensions around the world.

The commander of US Central Command, Gen. Kenneth McKenzie, told Congress Tuesday that rockets have been falling frequently, and while the military had a number of measures to protect itself, “that luck is not going to hold out forever.”

Lucks runs out

“What we’ve seen are a number of attacks on the US embassy — some as recent as less than two weeks ago,” McKenzie told the House Armed Services Committee. “Rockets have fallen very close. Rockets have fallen inside of the embassy compound. We have a variety of things that we do to protect ourselves and we have been — we have been good so far in doing that. That luck is not going to hold out forever,” he said.

Referring to powerful Shiite militias over which Iran has strong influence, McKenzie said that, “at some point, the degree of Iranian command and control over those Shiite militia groups may be tested.”

“I have always said that Iran can certainly direct attacks in Iraq,” the general added. “Iran may not be able to prevent attacks from occurring in Iraq. And frankly, the fact that Qasem Soleimani is no longer there to tie it all together makes it a little bit more difficult for them to effect command and control.”

After the strike on Soleimani in January the Iraqi Parliament voted to end the presence of all foreign troops in Iraq in a rebuke to the US for the targeted airstrike on Soleimani.

Iran retaliated days later by firing a number of missiles at two Iraqi bases housing US troops.

Legal status unclear

Currently, the legal status of US troops in the country remains unclear. The government has a popular mandate to request that troops leave, but it is unclear if this is legally binding and no timetable was laid out in the resolution.

In January, hundreds of thousands of protesters marched through Baghdad calling for US troops to leave the country, heeding the call of powerful Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadr who called for a “Million Man March.”

At the rally, Sadr reiterated calls for US troops to leave the country in a bid to steer clear of “another war.” Iraqi President Barham Salih tweeted an image of the protest. “Iraqis insist on a state with complete sovereignty that will not be breached,” tweeted Salih.

CNN reported in January that there were roughly 5,000 US troops stationed in Iraq. The Trump administration has said it does not intend to pull troops out of the country.

KSL 5 TV Live

World News

This image released by the U.S. Department of Justice in an FBI affidavit filed in U.S. District Co...

Denise Lavoie and Matthew Barakat, Associated Press

4 charged in transporting suspected Iranian-made weapons. Two SEALs died in intercepting the ship

Four foreign nationals have been charged with transporting suspected Iranian-made weapons after U.S. naval forces interdicted a vessel in the Arabian Sea last month.

8 hours ago

A group of young Filipino girls are excited...

Dan Rascon

Tabernacle Choir arrives in Philippines to continue ‘Hope’ world tour

There was celebration, music and dancing as the Tabernacle Choir on Temple Square arrived in the Philippines to kick of the second segment of its Hope world tour.

1 day ago

The Bates family sold their Utah house, quit their jobs and left family and friends to move to Mexi...

Tamara Vaifanua

Utah family opens school for teens in Mexico

A Utah family who volunteered at orphanages in Mexico has moved there permanently to open a school of their own.

3 days ago

Demonstrators hold banners outside the Royal Courts of Justice in London, Tuesday, Feb. 20, 2024. W...

Jill Lawless

WikiLeaks founder Assange faces his last legal roll of the dice in Britain to avoid US extradition

Julian Assange’s lawyers have begun their final U.K. legal challenge to stop the WikiLeaks founder from being sent to the United States to face spying charges.

3 days ago

Members of the Palestinian civil defense extinguish a fire in a building in the east of Rafah, the ...

Richard Roth and Tara John, CNN

US proposes a ‘temporary ceasefire’ in Gaza in draft UN resolution

The United States has proposed a United Nations Security Council draft resolution on Gaza calling for a temporary ceasefire in Israel’s war against Hamas and warning against an Israeli ground incursion into Rafah, where hundreds of thousands of displaced Palestinians have fled over the course of the conflict.

3 days ago

In this 2015 file photo, an MQ-9 Reaper remotely piloted aircraft flies by during a training missio...

Natasha Bertrand and Holly Britzky, CNN

US investigating after drone crashed in Yemen, officials say

The US is investigating after an unmanned US drone crashed near Hodeidah in Yemen early Monday morning, two US officials told CNN.

3 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Modern chandelier hanging from a white slanted ceiling with windows in the backgruond...

Lighting Design

Light Up Your Home With These Top Lighting Trends for 2024

Check out the latest lighting design trends for 2024 and tips on how you can incorporate them into your home.

Technician woman fixing hardware of desktop computer. Close up....

PC Laptops

Tips for Hassle-Free Computer Repairs

Experiencing a glitch in your computer can be frustrating, but with these tips you can have your computer repaired without the stress.

Close up of finger on keyboard button with number 11 logo...

PC Laptops

7 Reasons Why You Should Upgrade Your Laptop to Windows 11

Explore the benefits of upgrading to Windows 11 for a smoother, more secure, and feature-packed computing experience.

Stylish room interior with beautiful Christmas tree and decorative fireplace...

Lighting Design

Create a Festive Home with Our Easy-to-Follow Holiday Prep Guide

Get ready for festive celebrations! Discover expert tips to prepare your home for the holidays, creating a warm and welcoming atmosphere for unforgettable moments.

Battery low message on mobile device screen. Internet and technology concept...

PC Laptops

9 Tips to Get More Power Out of Your Laptop Battery

Get more power out of your laptop battery and help it last longer by implementing some of these tips from our guide.

Users display warnings about the use of artificial intelligence (AI), access to malicious software ...

Les Olson

How to Stay Safe from Cybersecurity Threats

Read our tips for reading for how to respond to rising cybersecurity threats in 2023 and beyond to keep yourself and your company safe.

2 Americans, 1 British National Killed In Rocket Attack On Base In Iraq