FIXED UPDATE 2 Drone attack on US forces foiled west of Baghdad

BAGHDAD, January 4 (Reuters) – Two drones loaded with explosives were shot down by Iraqi air defenses on Tuesday as they approached the Ain al-Asad air base, home to US forces, in the west of Baghdad, according to an official of the international organization led by the United States. said the military coalition.

In recent weeks, US officials had warned that they expected attacks on US forces in Iraq and Syria to increase, in part because of the second anniversary of the murder of Iranian General Qassem Soleimani.

A similar attack was foiled on Monday, when Iraqi air defenses shot down two drones as they approached a base housing US forces near Baghdad International Airport.

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Separately, another coalition official told Reuters that the coalition carried out strikes against an “imminent threat” after seeing several rocket launch sites near the Green Village in Syria.

Although the official did not say which coalition country led the strikes or who was responsible for the launch sites, Iranian-backed militias have sometimes targeted US forces in Iraq and Syria.

In Washington, the Pentagon said the coalition strikes in Syria were not carried out by air, but did not provide further details of the threat.

“I am not in a position now to enter into a specific attribution. That said, we continue to see threats against our forces in Iraq and Syria by militias supported by Iran,” the spokesman said. Pentagon John Kirby to reporters.

The United States leads the international military coalition that fights Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria.

There are approximately 900 US troops in Syria and 2,500 more in Iraq.

Soleimani was killed on January 3, 2020 in a drone strike near Baghdad airport ordered by then-US President Donald Trump.

Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi said on Monday that Trump must stand trial for the murder or else Tehran would take revenge. Read more

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Report on Ahmed Rasheed in Baghdad, Idrees Ali and Phil Stewart in Washington; Written by Maher Chmaytelli; Editing by Howard Goller and Rosalba O’Brien

Our Standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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