Attacks on bases hosting US-led coalition forces by Iranian-armed militias are heading towards a red line for the coalition, who would respond with such force that “no one would like the outcome,” a senior US official warned on Wednesday.
Just hours later a further two rockets hit near the military section of Baghdad airport.
The attack is the tenth of its type since October, targeting joint US-Iraqi military facilities that host forces from the US-led coalition to defeat Isil.
Speaking to Reuters on the condition of anonymity, the US official reportedly said that while there were no claims of responsibility for the attacks, intelligence and forensic analyses indicated Iranian-backed Shi’ite Muslim militia groups are behind them.
The Iraqi paramilitary groups and the US are trading blame on the series of attacks.
“We’re waiting for full evidence…If past is prologue, I’d say there’s a good chance it was Iran that’s behind it,” David Schenker, the US Assistant Secretary for Near Eastern Affairs, told reporters last Friday. Two further attacks have happened since.
The rocket attacks come amid US accusations that Iran has capitalised on the continued unrest in Iraq to secretly move short-range ballistic missiles into the country.
The Trump administration hit Iran with fresh sanctions on Wednesday in an effort to intensify their “maximum pressure” campaign against Tehran’s nuclear and ballistic missile programmes.