BAGHDAD — A volley of rockets hit an Iraqi airbase north of the capital Baghdad on Sunday, injuring four Iraqi air force personnel, the army said.

Eight rockets struck the Balad airbase, which is hosting U.S. personnel, the military media center added in a brief statement, according to Iraq’s official news agency INA.

A local security official had earlier said three Iraqi soldiers were injured after nine mortar shells had landed in the base, some 80 kilometers (about 50 miles) north of Baghdad.

So far, there has been no claim of responsibility for the attack that comes amid tensions between the United States and Iran.

The incident came just days Iran fired ballistic missiles at an Iraqi base hosting U.S. forces in retaliation for President Donald Trump’s decision to kill Iranian general Qassem Soleimani.

“Outraged by reports of another rocket attack on an Iraqi airbase,” U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a tweet. “I pray for speedy recovery of the injured and call on the Government of Iraq to hold those responsible for this attack on the Iraqi people accountable.”

“These continued violations of Iraq’s sovereignty by groups not loyal to the Iraqi government must end,” he added.

Some shells hit the runway of the facility while another shell struck the gate, Colonel Mohammed Khalil, a police officer in the northern Iraqi province of Salah al-Din, added.

Iran and the U.S. appeared to step back from the brink of an escalated military conflict earlier this week after Tehran fired the ballistic missiles.

Trump chose to impose new sanctions on Iran instead of retaliating for the attack, which caused no harm to U.S. forces.

Both sides have continued a war of words, while the Trump administration claims to be open to negotiating with Iran without preconditions over its nuclear program.


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