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Four Iraq troops injured in rocket attack on air base housing US personnel

Four members of Iraq's military were wounded today in a rocket attack targeting an air base just north of Baghdad where American trainers are present, Iraqi security officials said.

US forces in Iraq (file picture). Source: istock.com

The attack by at least six rockets came just days after Iran fired ballistic missiles at two bases in Iraq that house US forces, causing no casualties.

Recent heightened tensions between the US and Iran were sparked last month when a rocket attack killed an American contractor at a base in Iraq.

The US has blamed that attack and others on Iran-backed militias.

Today's attack wounded an Iraqi air force officer and three enlisted men, Iraqi security officials said. They spoke on condition of anonymity in line with regulations.

No group claimed responsibility for the attack.

The rockets struck Balad air base, which hosts American trainers, advisers and a company that provides maintenance services for F-16 aircraft.

Some rockets fell on a restaurant inside the airbase, the officials said.

The base is located some 80 kilometres north of Baghdad.

A statement from the Iraqi army's official media office confirmed the attack but said eight rockets hit the base, and that two officers had been wounded. The difference in accounts could no immediately be reconciled.

“There are American experts, trainers and advisers at the base,” said one defence official, who requested anonymity because he was not authorised to speak to media.

Iran strikes back at US with missile attack at bases in Iraq

The US and Iran recently stepped back from escalating tensions following the killing of General Qassem Soleimani, Iran’s top general, in a US airstrike in Baghdad. A senior Iraqi leader of an Iran-backed militia was also killed.

Iran's retaliatory attack for Soleimani's death hit two Iraqi bases, Ain al-Asad and Irbil, where American troops are based.

The limited Iranian strikes appeared to be mainly a show of force, and deescalated tensions that had threatened to turn Iraq into a proxy battlefield.