Just in case a global viral pandemic and an oil price war weren't enough, we could once again be on the precipice of another conflict in the middle east: two Americans and one British national have been killed in a rocket attack on the Taji military base in Iraq, according to U.S. Defense Officials. According to U.S. military officials, the attack took place on March 11 at 7:35pm local time in Iraq.
Additionally, at least 12 people were wounded in the attack at Camp Taji, about 17 miles north of Baghdad, according to the spokesman, Navy Capt. Bill Urban. About 18 Katyusha rockets hit the base, and five of the wounded were evacuated in serious condition, Urban said.
The rockets were launched from the Rashediya area of northeast Baghdad, Iraqi military officials said in a statement. U.S. officials have attributed the use of such rockets in attacks to Iranian-backed militias in Iraq.
It wasn't immediately clear whether or not those killed in the Katuysha rocket attack were military or civilians, who may have been contractors working on the base, according to CNN. Col. Myles Caggins tweeted that "more than 15 small rockets" impacted Camp Taji.
The Coalition @CJTFOIR 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, follow @OIRSpox & @SecMedCell for updates. https://t.co/oNgNfCEYG7— OIR Spokesman Col. Myles B. Caggins III (@OIRSpox) March 11, 2020
The US military said that the Iraqi military found a pickup truck with a rocket launcher mounted in the back and three rockets still loaded.
Tensions have been elevated in the middle east since the U.S. killed Qasem Soleimani, a top Iranian commander, in January. Hours after Solemani was killed, Iran retaliated by firing missiles toward two U.S. bases in Iraq. Earlier this year, Iraqi's Parliament voted to end the presence of foreign troops in Iraq.
In January, hundreds of thousands of protesters marched through Baghdad demanding U.S. troops leave the country. The legal status of the U.S. troops that remain in Iraq is unclear.
Iraqi President Barham Salih tweeted an image of the protest at the time, adding: "Iraqis insist on a state with complete sovereignty that will not be breached."