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Four Iraqis injured as 8 rockets hit Al-Balad Airbase (near Baghdad) harboring 15 Americans

BAGHDAD: Four local soldiers (two officers and two airmen) got injured when eight Katyusha-type rockets landed on Al-Balad airbase near here today (12th of January, 2020). 

According to details a volley of rockets hit the Al-Balad Airbase – main airbase for Iraq’s F-16s about 80km north of Baghdad.-  which Iraq had purchased from the US to upgrade its air capacities.

It is pertinent to mention here that the base had hosted a small US Air Force contingent as well as American contractors. But almost all of the US advisers, and employees of Sallyport and Lockheed Martin had withdrawn to Taji and Erbil due to threats.

Sources have further informed that there is only one aircraft and fifteen Americans at Al-Balad Airbase.

Relevant pieces published earlier: 

Two small rockets fall inside Baghdad’s Green Zone hours after Trump’s address

BAGHDAD: Several hours after Trump’s address to the nation and 24 hours after Tehran launched ballistic missiles at Iraqi bases housing US and other coalition forces, two Katyusha rockets fell inside Green Zone on Wednesday (8th of January, 2020), hermetically sealed  area here harboring government buildings and diplomatic missions sans any casualty.

According to sources based in Baghdad two loud explosions were heard and one of the rockets fell just a hundred meters short of US Embassy.

Soleimani’s Death: Missiles fired at US troops in Iraq

4th of January, 2020

BAGHDAD: Two rockets hit Iraq’s Al-Balad Air Base harboring US troops here today.

Two mortars also hit Baghdad’s Green Zone, a high-security enclave housing the US embassy: “Several rockets targeted Celebration Square and the Jadriya area in Baghdad, and the Balad air base in Salahuddin province, with no loss of life. Further details to come,” the Iraqi military stated.

It is pertinent to mention here that the attacks came a day after US drone strike outside the Baghdad airport  killed 7 people including Iranian commander Qassem Soleimani, top Iraqi paramilitary chief Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis.


M M Alam

M. M. Alam is a Pakistan-based working journalist since 1981. Karachi University faculty gold medalist Alam began his career four decades ago by writing for Dawn, Pakistan’s highest circulating English daily. He has worked for region’s leading publications, global aviation periodicals including Rotors (of USA) and vetted New York Times as permanent employee of daily Express Tribune. Alam regularly covers international aviation and defense-related events including Salon Du Bourget (France), Farnborough (United Kingdom), Dubai (UAE). Alam has reported thousands of events and interviewed hundreds of people in Pakistan, UAE, EU, UK and USA. Being Francophone Alam also coordinates with a number of French publications.