Drone, Rocket Attacks Targeted US Forces in Iraq, US Officials Say

An aerial file photo taken from a helicopter shows Ain al-Asad air base in the western Anbar desert, Iraq, December 29, 2019. (AP)
An aerial file photo taken from a helicopter shows Ain al-Asad air base in the western Anbar desert, Iraq, December 29, 2019. (AP)
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Drone, Rocket Attacks Targeted US Forces in Iraq, US Officials Say

An aerial file photo taken from a helicopter shows Ain al-Asad air base in the western Anbar desert, Iraq, December 29, 2019. (AP)
An aerial file photo taken from a helicopter shows Ain al-Asad air base in the western Anbar desert, Iraq, December 29, 2019. (AP)

US forces in Iraq and Syria faced two separate rocket and explosive drone attacks in less than 24 hours, Iraqi security sources and US officials told Reuters on Monday, the first reported after a near three-month pause.

At least one armed drone was launched at the Ain al-Asad air base that hosts US troops in the western Iraqi province of Anbar, a US official said.

That followed five rockets fired from northern Iraq towards US forces at a base in Rumalyn in remote northeastern Syria, on Sunday, according to US and Iraqi officials.

There were no reports of casualties or significant damage from the drone attacks.

On Saturday, a massive explosion at a military base in Iraq killed a member of an Iraqi security force that includes Iran-backed groups.

The force commander said it was an attack while the army said it was investigating and that there were no warplanes in the sky at the time. The US. military denied involvement.

Near-daily rocket and drone strikes on US forces began in mid-October and were claimed by a group of Iran-backed Shiite armed groups known as the so-called “Islamic Resistance in Iraq”, who cited US backing for Israel's war in Gaza.

The attacks stopped in late January under pressure from Iraqi authorities and Iran, following deadly US retaliatory airstrikes in Iraq, after three US soldiers were killed in a drone strike on a small base on the Iraqi-Jordanian border.

Iraqi Prime Minister Mohammed Shia al-Sudani returned at the weekend from a week-long visit to the United States where he met President Joe Biden in an effort to turn a new page in US-Iraqi relations despite soaring regional tensions.

The US invaded Iraq in 2003 and toppled longtime leader Saddam Hussein, withdrawing in 2011 before returning in 2014 at the head of an international military coalition at the Baghdad government's request to help fight ISIS extremists.

The US has some 2,500 troops in Iraq and 900 in eastern Syria on an advise-and-assist mission.



US Military Pier Operations in Gaza Suspended after Piece Breaks Off

US Navy personnel construct a JLOTS, which stands for "Joint Logistics Over-the Shore" temporary pier which will provide a ship-to-shore distribution system to help deliver humanitarian aid into Gaza, in an undated handout picture in the Mediterranean Sea. (US Central Command/Handout via Reuters/File Photo)
US Navy personnel construct a JLOTS, which stands for "Joint Logistics Over-the Shore" temporary pier which will provide a ship-to-shore distribution system to help deliver humanitarian aid into Gaza, in an undated handout picture in the Mediterranean Sea. (US Central Command/Handout via Reuters/File Photo)
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US Military Pier Operations in Gaza Suspended after Piece Breaks Off

US Navy personnel construct a JLOTS, which stands for "Joint Logistics Over-the Shore" temporary pier which will provide a ship-to-shore distribution system to help deliver humanitarian aid into Gaza, in an undated handout picture in the Mediterranean Sea. (US Central Command/Handout via Reuters/File Photo)
US Navy personnel construct a JLOTS, which stands for "Joint Logistics Over-the Shore" temporary pier which will provide a ship-to-shore distribution system to help deliver humanitarian aid into Gaza, in an undated handout picture in the Mediterranean Sea. (US Central Command/Handout via Reuters/File Photo)

A part of the US military's pier off Gaza has broken off, rendering it temporarily inoperable, two US officials said, in the latest blow to efforts to deliver humanitarian aid to Palestinians.

The US officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said bad weather was believed to be the reason that the part had broken off. They did not say how big the part was or speculate on how long it would take for the pier to resume operations.

The pier was announced by US President Joe Biden in March and involved the military assembling the floating structure off the coast. Estimated to cost $320 million for the first 90 days and involve about 1,000 US service members, it went into operation two weeks ago.

Since the pier began operations, the United Nations has transported 137 trucks of aid from the pier - the equivalent of 900 metric tons - said a UN World Food Program (WFP) spokesperson.