Iran-backed militants launch missile attack on Iraq airbase, US soldiers injured

Iran-backed militants launch missile attack on Iraq airbase, US soldiers injured

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  • January 21, 2024
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United States soldiers being treated for ‘traumatic brain injuries’ after multiple ballistic missiles and rockets were launched by Iran-backed militants in Western Iraq targeting Al-Assad Airbase on 20 January, Saturday, claims US Central Command.

Taking to microblogging site X, US CENTCOM posted, “Most of the missiles were intercepted by the base’s air defense systems while others impacted on the base. Damage assessments are ongoing. A number of U.S. personnel are undergoing evaluation for traumatic brain injuries. At least one Iraqi service member was wounded.”.

On Saturday, the US had also conducted airstrikes against a Houthi anti-ship missile that was aimed into the Gulf of Aden and was prepared to launch, the US Central Command (CENTCOM) stated. 

Last week, US had also conducted airstrikes across Yemen claiming to have hit 14 Houthi targets, amid the ongoing Red Sea attacks by Houthis, disrupting the trade route. The Yemen-based Houthis have cited Israel’s genocide in Gaza, killing at least 25,000 Palestinians as the reason for their attacks in Red Sea. 

In their attacks against the Houthis, the US has maintained the need for ‘self defense’ as the rebel launched missiles were targeting merchant vessels and US Navy Ships in the Red Sea.

Notably, the US had also said that Israel had the right to self defense when Benjamin Netanyahu’s Israeli Defense Forces had started pounding Gaza in retaliation to the 7 October Hamas attack. However, from then Israel never stopped, and had now conducted an unrecognized “genocide”. 

The White House confirmed in a statement that this was the fourth preemptive action taken by the US military amid boiling tensions in the Red Sea.

President Joe-Biden governed US redesignated the Yemen-based Houthi Group as a “terrorist” organization in response to its continuing attacks and threats to shipping and imposed sanctions on it. The designation does not go into effect for 30 days.

The Houthis said the designation will not affect its operations to prevent Israeli ships or vessels heading to Israel from crossing the Red Sea, the Arabian Sea and the Bab al-Mandeb Strait.

Houthis’ strikes have slowed trade between Asia and Europe and alarmed major world powers, Al Jazeera reported.

Meanwhile, Iran on Saturday accused Israel of a strike in Damascus that killed five Revolutionary Guards members, and vowed to avenge the latest attack on the Islamic republic’s personnel abroad.

President Ebrahim Raisi said Tehran would not let the “cowardly assassination” go unanswered.

Israel has been accused of intensifying strikes targeting senior Iranian and allied figures in Syria and Lebanon — backers of the Palestinian militant group Hamas — raising fears that fighting in the Gaza Strip could spread further.

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Published: 21 Jan 2024, 06:45 AM IST

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