Conflicting News About US Patriot System Intercepting Rockets in Iraq
A day after their deployment in western Iraq, Patriot batteries intercepted two rockets targeting western Iraq’s Ain al-Asad base, which hosts US troops, Iraqi security sources revealed.
The two rockets, according to the sources, fell in Al Mamurah village, 70 km west of al-Ramadi city in Anbar province. The attack only resulted in material damage.
Maj. Gen. Qassim al-Muhammadi denied that the attack targeted Ain al-Asad base. In a statement on Tuesday, Muhammadi blamed ISIS-linked militants for launching Katyusha rockets with a range of 6 km.
He said the rockets fell in the desert, without causing any damage.
“Claims about the Patriot system intercepting the rockets are not true,” Muhammadi said, stressing that the rockets landed about 40 km from Ain al-Asad base.
On Monday, Washington deployed Patriot missile defense batteries in Ain al-Asad and Harir base in Erbil, which also hosts US troops.
US soldiers in Iraq have in the past months come under rocket attacks that Washington blames on Iranian-backed militias in the country.
So far, Baghdad has not commented on the Patriot defense batteries' deployment.
Following the assassination of Iranian general Qassem Soleimani in Baghdad, the Iraqi parliament in January demanded the withdrawal of all foreign troops from the country.
In other news, the US-led coalition’s spokesman Myles B. Caggins confirmed that training of Iraqi forces will resume after Ramadan.
The coalition has supported Iraq with more than four billion dollars and hundreds of military vehicles and trucks, in addition to assisting the Iraqi air force, Caggins said.
He stressed the coalition will continue to provide assistance to the Iraqi security forces, the Peshmerga and the Syrian Democratic Forces.