Two Americans and one British service member were killed during a rocket attack on a military base north of Baghdad on Wednesday. Twelve coalition personnel were also wounded.
According to the AP, as many as 30 107-mm Katyusha rockets were launched from a rigged truck discovered by the Iraqi military a few miles away from Camp Taji military compound, and 18 of the rockets struck the base.
On Thursday, Iraq’s military announced that it has opened an investigation into the rocket attack, releasing a statement that called the action, “a very serious security challenge and hostile act.”
A similar rocket attack in December, which killed a U.S. contractor in Iraq, set off hostilities between the U.S. and Iran. Those tensions led to U.S. airstrikes against the Iran-backed militia Kataib Hezbollah and a drone strike that killed Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani. That, in turn, led Iran to counter with a ballistic missile attack on U.S. forces in Iraq.
The rocket attack on Wednesday was on what would have been Soleimani’s birthday.
According to ABC News’ Elizabeth McLau U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark A. Milley addressed the situation on Thursday, saying, the Camp Taji rocket attack in Iraq was “from Shia militia groups.” Milley, added, that because the rigged truck has been secured by Iraqi Security Forces, “We have pretty good confidence who did this.”
Defense Secretary Mark Esper also said, “We do know that [the militia groups] are backed by Iran.”
President Trump told reporters, that although “They’ve sent a lot of rockets now. It hasn’t been fully determined it was Iran.” But Trump added, “It was a rebel group, but most likely it looks like it could be backed by Iran.”
According to the AP, the U.S. has at least 5,200 troops in Iraq, and Milley did not rule out retaliation, adding, “Options are on the table, and we’re looking at everything.”