The United States will do what it views as necessary to defend its interests after a rocket attack against Iraq's Ain al-Asad airbase, which hosts American, coalition and Iraqi forces, US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said on Sunday.
Speaking on ABC's "This Week" program, Austin said the United States was urging Iraq to quickly investigate the incident and determine who was responsible.
"We'll strike, if that's what we think we need to do, at a time and place of our own choosing. We demand the right to protect our troops," he said, adding that Iran would have to draw its own conclusions if and when the United States acts.
On Wednesday, 10 rockets were fired at the sprawling airbase in western Iraq that is home to many of the 2,500 American troops still in Iraq. No service members were wounded, but a civilian American contractor died from a heart attack while sheltering during the rocket attack.
The rocket attack followed a US airstrike in eastern Syria last week that targeted a compound used by Iranian-backed Shiite militias that Washington had assessed were responsible for a deadly rocket attack on another US facility in Erbil.