Iraq rocket attack kills US contractor, wounds military personnel

A rocket attack on Friday on Iraqi military base of Kirkuk left one US contractor dead and several military personnel injured

A rocket attack at Iraqi military base of Kirkuk left one US contractor dead and several military personnel injured on Friday. Though none of the militias active in the region has been blamed for the attack, the western coalition forces have blamed Shiite militias, backed by Iran, for various attacks in the region. This attack is part of a series of attacks in Iraq, threatening the US military presence in the region.

What happened in Friday's attack?

Kirkuk on the map of Iraq Google Maps

The attack took place on Friday at 7:20 pm [Local Time]. Several US and Iraqi military personnel were injured. The base is hosting coalition troops tasked with fighting Islamic State in the region.

"One US civilian contractor was killed and several US service members and Iraqi personnel were wounded in a rocket attack on an Iraqi military base in Kirkuk," the US-led coalition said in a statement. "Iraqi Security Forces are leading the response and investigation," the coalition said.

A US official told AFP that as many as 30 rockets hit the military base, that also targeted ammunition depot which led to further explosions. At the launch point, near the base, four more Katyusha rockets were found in the tube of an abandoned vehicle.

Who is responsible for the attack?

Though the coalition hasn't blamed any group for the attack, it is expected to raise tensions between the US and Iran, whom they have accused of being behind attacks on its interests. A US source has said that pro-Iran factions in Iraq are now considered a more significant threat to American soldiers than the ISIS, which though weekend to a considerable level, but it's sleeper cells remain active in the region.

Attacks on US interests in Iraq

The US has faced various such attacks in Iraq, which have remained unclaimed, but Washington has blamed Shia paramilitary groups backed by Iran, which wields growing influence in the country.

Al Assad air base
Al Assad Air base Google Maps

On December 3, five rockets hit Al-Asad airbase, just four days after US Vice President Mike Pence visited the base.

Qayyarah AIr base
Qayyarah Air base Google Maps

In November, more than a dozen rockets hit Qayyarah Airbase, the largest such attack, in recent months. Tensions escalated between the US and Iran after the US unilaterally pulled out of the multi-member Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), commonly known as Iran Nuclear Deal. Iran, a US ally and Iran's neighbour is caught in the middle of the ongoing conflict.