A U.S. contractor died Wednesday when at least 10 rockets slammed into an air base housing U.S. and other coalition troops in western Iraq, the Pentagon said.
Pentagon spokesperson John Kirby said the contractor “suffered a cardiac episode while sheltering” and died.
He said that no other service members were injured.
The rockets hit Ain al-Asad airbase in Anbar province Wednesday morning.
A U.S. contractor died Wednesday when at least 10 rockets slammed into an air base housing U.S. and other coalition troops in western Iraq, the Pentagon said.Advertisement - story continues below
No one claimed responsibility for Wednesday’s attack, which comes two days before Pope Francis is scheduled to visit the country amid concerns about security and the coronavirus pandemic. The much-anticipated trip will include stops in Baghdad, southern Iraq and the northern city of Irbil.
In addition to American troops, Danish and British are among those stationed at the base. It’s the same base that Iran struck with a barrage of missiles in January of last year in retaliation for the killing of Soleimani. Dozens of U.S. service members suffered concussions in that strike.
The Iraqi military released a statement saying that Wednesday’s attack did not cause significant losses and that security forces had found the launch pad used for the rockets — a truck. Video of the site shows a burning truck in a desert area.
BREAKING: A U.S. contractor died when at least 10 rockets slammed into an air base housing U.S. and other coalition troops in Iraq, the Pentagon said. The Pentagon said the contractor “suffered a cardiac episode while sheltering” and died shortly later. https://t.co/cUY0o8NUQN
— The Associated Press (@AP) March 3, 2021
Last week’s U.S. strike along the border was in response to a spate of rocket attacks that targeted the American presence, including one that killed a coalition contractor from the Philippines outside the Irbil airport.
After that attack, the Pentagon said the strike was a “proportionate military response.”