Baghdad | Two days before the historic visit of Pope Francis, at least ten rockets fell on U.S. troops in western Iraq.
Two days before Pope Francis’ historic visit to the country, ten rockets hit a base housing American soldier in Iraq and killed an American civil subcontractor.
This new attack, preceded by a similar modus operandi in recent weeks, is reminiscent of how a sovereign pope’s first visit to Iraq was a logical headache.
“I will go to Iraq,” the pope said after announcing everything to the audience, but stressed that he wanted to “meet the people who have suffered so much, and meet this martyred church.”
The United States, which has deployed about 2,500 troops in Iraq as part of its fight against jihad, has repeatedly blamed pro-Iranian Iraqi militants for the attacks. No lawsuit was filed on Wednesday.
Tensions between the two powers operating in Iraq, the Islamic Republic of Iran and the United States, sworn enemies, could become an obstacle to the unveiling of the papal program.
Iraq on Wednesday recorded more than 5,100 Kovid-19 contaminants, despite health restrictions.
Iraqi and Western security sources say many of the ten rockets fired at Ain al-Assad’s Iraqi air base have fallen on the stand of American soldiers from the International Anti-Jihadi Alliance.
A civilian contractor died of a heart attack as a result of the attack. The Pentagon said the victim was an American national.
The rockets were fired from a village near the desert region of Ain al-Assad, where launching pads were easy to set up, sometimes in vehicles, fire projectiles and quickly fleeing, Iraqi sources said.
Rockets are made in Iran
Without blaming anyone, Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kazimi warned on Twitter that “no one can claim to be above the state.”
“Anyone who believes in himself in a position to impose his agenda on the future of Iraq and its citizens will be deceived,” he said.
Ten rockets fired by the Iraqi military command are said to be of the “grad” type. More precisely, the “Arash” type is described by AFP to Western security sources as being more state-of-the-art than rockets made in Iran and used until recently.
Sworn enemies, both the Islamic Republic of Iran and the United States have a presence or allies in Iraq. The United States, which has deployed 2,500 troops to the coalition fighting the Islamic State (IS) group and has the support of Iran’s Hachd al-Chabi, is a powerful coalition of paramilitaries that has merged into the state, financially aided by Iran, mainly the armed factions.
According to a recent Iranian report, Iran’s ideological army, the Revolutionary Guards, developed “Arash” missiles with a range of 22 km and a detonator head of 19 kg.
In Iraq, Iran has the support of Hachd al-Chabi, among others, a powerful coalition of paramilitaries, amalgamated in the state, mainly with militias and funded by Tehran.
Iraq has experienced calm at the end of 2020 for a pro-Iran treaty in the wake of threats from the United States to withdraw all of its troops and diplomats from the country.
In recent weeks, attacks have resumed: rockets have fallen near the American embassy in Baghdad, while others have targeted the Bahla airbase further north, wounding an Iraqi employee of an American company responsible for operating the F-16. The rockets also hit an allied military base at the airport in the Iraqi Kurdistan capital, Erbil, where two people, including a foreign civilian contractor, were killed.
Limited papal visit
Iraqi Kurdish counter-terrorism, which is facing charges of involvement of members of Hachd al-Chabi in the attack on a base in Erbil on Wednesday, has published the “confession” of one of the four perpetrators of the shooting.
In response, the United States attacked pro-Iranian Iraqi troops in Syria on February 26. According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (OSDH), 22 Iraqi militants have been killed.
Washington regularly threatens Iran with the worst, especially when one of its nationals is killed. In January 2020, in response to the deaths of Americans in Iraq, an American drone plunged into open conflict in Iraq after killing Iranian General Qassam Solomon in Baghdad.
Pope Francis is expected in Baghdad on Friday and in Erbil on Sunday, where he will hold mass celebrations at a stadium filled with faithful. He has no planned stopover in the western desert, but passes through Mosul, a stronghold of ISIS in the north, where the factions of Hachd al-Chabi are now deployed.
The Sovereign Pope will miss the crowd baths he loves because the country will be in total detention to deal with the garbage from Friday, March 5th to Monday, March 8th.