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Three killed in attack on army base in Iraq

A US official confirmed on Wednesday that two of those killed at the Camp Taji base were American troops.

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British soldiers (Ben Birchall/PA)

British soldiers (Ben Birchall/PA)

British soldiers (Ben Birchall/PA)

A member of the British military is believed to be one of three people killed in a missile attack at an army base in Iraq.

A US official confirmed two of those killed at the Camp Taji base were American troops, but declined to comment on the nationality of the third.

A spokesman for the Ministry of Defence said it was aware of an incident involving UK service personnel at the base, which is used as a training site for Coalition forces.

“An investigation is underway, it would be inappropriate to comment further at this time,” the spokesman said.

A report carried by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, however, said a member of the British military was among the deceased.

US military spokesman Colonel Myles Caggins said 12 more people from the Combined Joint Task Force Operation Inherent Resolve were injured after more than 15 small rockets had hit the base.

One witness told the PA news agency he heard screams of panic at the base as sirens rang out.

Ali Al Dulaimy, a 28-year-old Iraqi journalist, filmed the attack from the town of Balad to the North of Taji.

Speaking to PA  in Arabic through a translation tool, he said: “I heard screams and panic at the American forces inside the camp, and they were rushing to extinguish the fires that devoured the camp.

“There were soldiers shouting and sirens. It was in an agricultural area 10 km near the camp.”

He added the rockets appeared to have been fired at “precise” targets.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson labelled the attack as “deplorable”.

He said: “Our servicemen and women work tirelessly every day to uphold security and stability in the region – their presence makes us all safer.

“The Foreign Secretary has spoken to the US Secretary of State and we will continue to liaise with our international partners to fully understand the details of this abhorrent attack.”

A statement by the task force public affairs office added: “Three Coalition personnel were killed during a rocket attack on Camp Taji. The names of the personnel are withheld pending next of kin notification, in accordance with national policies.

“Approximately 12 additional personnel were wounded during the attack. The attack is under investigation by the Coalition and Iraqi Security Forces. Camp Taji is an Iraqi base that hosts Coalition personnel for training and advising missions.

“Approximately 18 107mm Katyusha rockets struck the base. The Iraqi Security Forces found a rocket-rigged truck, a few miles from Camp Taji.”

In January, the MoD told the PA news agency that there were around 400 personnel in Iraq across three main bases – Camp Taji near Baghdad, Union III in Baghdad, and Erbil in Iraqi Kurdistan.

Officials did not say what group they believe launched the rocket attack, but Kataib Hezbollah or another Iranian-backed Shia militia group is likely.

Kataib Hezbollah was responsible for a rocket attack on a military base in Kirkuk in December that killed a U.S. contractor, prompting American military strikes in response.

It led to protests at the US embassy in Baghdad which was followed on January 3 by a US airstrike that killed Iran’s most powerful military officer, General Qassem Soleimani, and Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, a leader of the Iran-backed militias in Iraq, of which Kataib Hezbollah is a member.

Kataib Hezbollah has been designated a “foreign terrorist organisation” by the US State Department since 2009.

PA