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Rockets Target U.S. Troops As Iraqi Militia Leader Vows Revenge

As rockets hit an Iraqi airbase housing U.S. personnel, the leader of an Iran-affiliated Iraqi militia has vowed to take revenge on the United States for the killing of four militiamen last month in an airstrike along the border between Iraq and Syria

The Ain al-Asad airbase in western Iraq was hit with at least three rockets late Monday, presumably targeting U.S. forces stationed there, but causing no casualties, Reuters reports.

The attacks coincided with a threat issued in an exclusive interview for the Associated Press, by a pro-Iranian Iraqi militia commander of Kataib Sayyid al-Shuhada, Abu Alaa al-Walae, who said “We want an operation that befits those martyrs. Even if it comes late, time is not important.”

“We want it to be an operation in which everyone says they have taken revenge from the Americans,” al-Walae also said. “It will be a qualitative operation (that could come) from the air, the sea, along Iraq’s border, in the region or anywhere. It’s an open war.”

In late June, the United States said it had carried out airstrikes against storage facilities used by Iran-backed militia in Iraq and Syria. The facilities, according to the U.S., were used in drone strikes in Iraq.

Related: U.S. Warns Gulf Allies: Don't Normalize Relations With Assad

“The targets were selected because these facilities are utilized by Iran-backed militias that are engaged in unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) attacks against U.S. personnel and facilities in Iraq. Specifically, the U.S. strikes targeted operational and weapons storage facilities at two locations in Syria and one location in Iraq, both of which lie close to the border between those countries,” the Department of Defense said in a statement.

A few days later, the AP reports, U.S. forces in eastern Syria were subjected to rocket fire but no casualties were reported. The U.S. blamed the attacks, targeting a key oil field in Syria near a U.S. military base, on Iran-backed militias.

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Drone attacks against U.S. forces in Iraq have become increasingly frequent after the killing of Iranian General Qassem Soleimani last year, also with a drone. This spurred a series of drone attacks against U.S. forces in the country but it also angered Iraqi parliamentarians, who earlier this year passed a resolution to pressure the government into sending foreign troops stationed in the country away.

By Charles Kennedy for Oilprice.com

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