The U.S. and Iran were poised for a dangerous escalation in violence early Wednesday following a new rocket strike on a U.S. military base in Iraq – at least the fourth attack on U.S. facilities in the region in three days.
American officials did not immediately offer attribution for the rocket attack against Al-Asad Air Base in western Iraq in the early morning hours on Wednesday. The U.S. headquarters overseeing military operations against the Islamic State group said 14 rockets landed on the base housing the U.S. and allied troops and its perimeter, causing two minor injuries and damage to facilities there.
Iranian state media said a pro-Iran militia known as Thar Al-Muhandis Brigade claimed credit for the strike. The newly formed unit, like many other similar groups created in recent months, is widely seen as a cover for the powerful Iran-backed militia Kataib Hezbollah that held a key role in the ground war against the Islamic State group.
Iranian media also cited an unconfirmed attack carried out "simultaneously" against a U.S. base at an oil field in eastern Syria by similar groups. U.S. officials did not immediately respond to inquiries about a strike in Syria.
The latest violence follows similar attacks on U.S. interests in recent days and poses pressing challenges for the Biden administration, which has not yet formed a clear response to Iran's acts of aggression.
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