By Jubin Katiraie
United States Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs David Schenker accused Iran on Friday of being involved in Thursday’s rocket attack on the Balad military base in Iraq.
He also said Washington is waiting for more evidence about the attack.
“We’re waiting for full evidence, but if past is prologue then there’s a good chance that Iran was behind it.”
The Iraqi army announced Thursday night that two Katyusha rockets had hit the interior of the Balad Air Force Base 64 kilometers (40 miles) north of Baghdad, the Iraqi capital. Balad Air Base is home to US troops and contractors.
The US official described the attacks as “of great concern” and said Iran’s “militant behavior” had increased in the past five to six months.
“The Iranians oftentimes, or have certainly in the past, taken aggressive action when they feel under pressure,” he added.
— Iran Focus (@Iran_Focus) October 26, 2019
News reports Thursday evening said five mortar shells hit a base in Iraq. Reuters quoted military sources in Iraq that mortar shells hit the Balad airbase in northern Baghdad province.
According to sources, the accident had no casualties or damage. Some sources say US troops are present at the Iraqi base.
Last Tuesday, Iraqi media also reported a rocket attack on Iraq’s Ein al-Assad airbase, where most US troops are stationed. Five rockets hit the base in the incident, but no casualties or casualties.
Also, on Wednesday it was reported that Iran is secretly stockpiling short-range missiles in Iraq.
The buildup is part of Iran’s widening effort to assert dominance in the Middle East and could pose a threat to American troops as well as other countries in the Middle East.
Iran’s stockpiling of short-range missiles in Iraq also serves as a strategic deterrent. If Iran were to face an attack, it could potentially strike back with the missiles stored outside its borders. American intelligence officials first warned about Iranian missiles in Iraq last year.