Ten rockets shot down a base housing American soldiers in Iraq on Wednesday, two days before Pope Francis’ historic visit to the country, killing an American civilian subcontinent.
This new attack, made several times in recent weeks with the same methods, is reminiscent of the extent to which the first visit of a sovereign pontiff in Iraq is a headache.
“I’ll go to Iraq”, the Pope declared despite everything, explaining that he wanted “to meet a lot of suffering people” to complete this martyred church.
The United States, which has deployed 2,500 troops under its anti-jihadist struggle in Iraq, has avoided directly accusing one of the pro-Iran Iraqi armed groups for these attacks.
President Joe Biden said of a possible US response, “We are in the process of identifying who is responsible and we will make decisions based on it.”
Tensions between the two powers operating in Iraq, the Islamic Republic of Iran and the United States of America swear enemies, which can become a hindrance to the revealing of the Pope program.
As epidemic as it is, despite health restrictions on Wednesday, Iraq recorded more than 5,100 Kovid-19s, a record.
According to Iraqi security sources and Western, many of the ten rockets fired at Ain al-Assad Air Base (West) have fallen inside the section where US troops and drones from the International Jihadist Alliance are stationed.
He said a civilian contractor died of a heart attack as a result of the attack. The Pentagon stated that the victim was of American nationality.
Iraqi sources said the rockets were fired from a village near the desert area of Ain al-Assad, where it is sometimes easier to put on launch pads, sometimes in vehicles, in fire projectiles and flee faster.
– “Made in Iran” –
Without accusing anyone, Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Qazimi warned on Twitter that no one “can claim to be above the state”.
“Anyone who believes themselves to be in a position to implement their agenda on Iraq and entertain the future of their citizens,” he said.
The Iraqi military command reported that the rocket used was of the “Grad” type. AASP more accurate of the “Arash” type for Western security sources, Iranian constructions that are more efficient than those used recently.
According to a recent Iranian report, Revolutionary Guards of Iran’s ideological army developed the “Arash” missile with a range of 22 km and a 19 kg detonator head.
In Iraq, Iran has the support of Hachad al-Chabi, a powerful coalition of paramilitary forces integrated into the state, composed primarily of armed factions and funded by Tehran.
Iraq felt calm by the end of 2020 due to a pro-Iran thanks to threats from the United States to withdraw all its troops and diplomats from the country.
But in recent weeks, the attacks have resumed: rockets have fallen near the US embassy in Baghdad, with others targeting Balad Air Base further north, an American responsible for the maintenance of the F-16 Wounding an Iraqi employee of the company. Rockets also attacked a military base housing coalition at Arbil Airport (North), where two people, including a foreign civilian contractor, were killed.
– Limited Papal Tours –
Iraqi Kurdish counter-insurgency on Wednesday accused Hachd al-Chabi of publishing a “confession” of a man posing as one of the four perpetrators of the attack in Erbil.
In response to this attack, the US raided pro-Iran Iraqi militias in Syria on 26 February. According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (OSDH), 22 Iraqi militias perished. According to the Pentagon, only one person died in the strike.
Pentagon spokesman John Kirby admitted that last week’s strike did not have the expected deterrent effect.
“But nobody wants an increase,” he said. “It is not in our interest, it is not in the interest of the Iraqi people.”
In January 2020, in response to the deaths of Americans in Iraq, an American drone in Baghdad killed Iranian General Kassem Soleimani, with such a spiral escalating into an almost open conflict in Iraq.
Pope Francis is expected to be in Baghdad on Friday and Erbil on Sunday, where he is due to hold a mass celebration at a stadium. It must also pass through Mosul, a former stronghold of ISIS in the north where the Hachad al-Chabi faction is stationed.
The sovereign pontiff would be denied the bath preferred by the crowd as the country would be in total imprisonment from Friday to Monday.