Shafaq News/ 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 shortly afterward.
He said there were no service members injured and all are accounted for.
The rocket attack was the first since the U.S. struck Iran-aligned factions targets along the Iraq-Syria border last week, killing one fighter and stoking fears of another cycle of tit-for-tat attacks as happened last year. Those attacks culminated in the U.S. drone strike that killed Iranian Gen. Qassim Soleimani in Baghdad.
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 COVID-19 pandemic. The much-anticipated trip will include stops in Baghdad, southern Iraq and the northern city of Irbil.
The rockets struck Ain Asad airbase in Anbar province early in the morning, U.S.-led coalition spokesperson Col. Wayne Marotto said.
Kirby said the rockets were fired from east of the base.
Iran struck the base 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.