Rocket fire on US base came even as Nasrallah warned Americans to leave dead or alive

The Iraq base which hosts US military personnel came under attack on Sunday as Hezbollah leader talked about continued retaliation against the US

An Iraqi military base that hosted American personnel was attacked on Sunday, causing injury to four people, including two officers. While the attack took place, the Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah gave a televised speech saying that the attack on the two bases in Iraq was just the beginning of retaliation against the Americans.

Several rockets were fired at the Balad military base in northern Iraq, which housed US military personnel. According to Iraqi media, the base was attacked by eight Katyusha rockets. Reports also said that projectiles from the rockets fell on a restaurant inside the base. The base gate and the runway were also damaged during the attack. There were no claims of responsibility by anyone after the attack. US soldiers were not present in the base during the attack.

Balad, Iraq
Balad Air Base is situated in northern Iraq and hosts US military troops Google Maps

Nasrallah talks about future attacks and a 'new era'

On Sunday night, the Lebanese political party and militant group, Hezbollah, said that the Iranian action was just the first step towards retaliation against the US for the killing of Qasem Soleimani. During a 90-minute speech, Hassan Nasrallah, Secretary-General of the group, said that the Americans should leave the region. It is known that the group is closely tied to Iran and the combatants of the group are trained by IRGC.

Hassan Nasrallah
Hassan Nasrallah Wikimedia Commons

Although there were no claims for the attack, it came during the speech delivered by Nasrallah. At least four soldiers from Iraq were injured in the attack. The base hosts the US personnel and has a company that services the military on its F-16 aircraft. The attack comes at a time when the tension between the US and Iran is raging. Iran had earlier retaliated to the US killing the Iranian military leader by attacking the bases in Iraq.

The speech comes a week after the killing of Soleimani

Nasrallah said that the attack on the bases was just the initial step down a long path to remove the US from the region. "The Americans must remove their bases, soldiers and officers and ships from our region. The alternative to leaving vertically is leaving horizontally. This is a decisive and firm decision," Nasrallah said during his 90-minute speech.

The speech came exactly a week after the death of Qassim Soleimani. Nasrallah also said that the world isn't a safe place unlike the claims made by the US officials. He said that after Soleimani's death it wouldn't be a safe place. He also praised Iran for coming out with the truth regarding the Ukraine plane crash and that the country's "transparency that unparalleled in the world."

Pompeo condemned the attack on the base

Soon after the attack on Sunday, US Secretary of the State, Mike Pompeo condemned the attack on the base. Pompeo also tweeted that the 'continued violations of Iraq's sovereignty by groups not loyal to the Iraqi government must end.'

Speculations and theories about Iran's continued retaliation

The attack came just days after Iran's retaliation on the US killing of Soleimani. The US officials reported that no Americans were injured during the attack. This has led to the possibility of Iraq turning into a proxy battlefield in the Middle East.

The US and Iran are slowly stepping back from taking any further action for the time being. Previously, several nations in the region had requested the two countries to step back and pursue diplomatic dialogues with respect to the situation. Iran is also in turmoil after the Ukraine crash which was caused by a missile from the country.

This article was first published on January 13, 2020