The Iraqi army said that two drones were destroyed above a base housing US troops on Sunday, one month after an armed drone targeted the same base.
The US military’s C-RAM defense system was activated to shoot down the drones above the Ain al-Asad base, located in Iraq’s western desert, the Iraqi military said.
Several hours earlier, a rocket was shot down above Baghdad airport, “without causing casualties or damage,” said Colonel Wayne Marotto, the spokesperson for the US-led military coalition in Iraq.
The coalition was sent to Iraq to help the country’s military fight the Daesh/ISIS terror group, which Baghdad declared they had won against in late 2017.
There are currently 2,500 US troops in Iraq, feeding into a total coalition troop strength of 3,500.
The US consistently blames Iran-linked Iraqi factions for rocket and other attacks against Iraqi installations housing its personnel.
Since the start of this year, there have been 39 attacks against US interests in Iraq.
The vast majority have been bombed against logistics convoys, while 14 were rocket attacks, some of them claimed by pro-Iran factions, who aim to pressure Washington into withdrawing all their troops.
For Western diplomats and high-ranking military officials in Iraq, the attacks not only pose a danger to US personnel but also endanger the fight against Daesh/ISIS, which maintains sleeper cells in mountainous and desert regions.
“Those attacks are a distraction,” said one such source. “The only people they are helping are jihadists because every time they attack a base where the coalition has advisors, those advisors have to stop what they are doing to concentrate on force protection.”
The use of drones against American interests by Iran-linked factions is a relatively new tactic. The US military has previously accused pro-Iran Iraqi groups of helping Yemen’s Houthi rebels carry out attacks using such devices against Saudi interests.