Rocket falls near Iraq's Balad military base which hosts US soldiers: police sources

COMPILED FROM WIRE SERVICES
ISTANBUL
Published 09.01.2020 21:54

A rocket has fallen near Iraq's Balad military base which hosts US soldiers, police sources said late Thursday.

The situation in the Middle East has been tense lately, after U.S.' assassination of Iranian general Qassem Soleimani.

Two rockets fell the previous day in Baghdad's heavily fortified Green Zone, causing no casualties, the Iraqi military said. There was no immediate claim of responsibility.

Harsh statements and threats from Iranian officials and military figures have resumed although tensions between Washington and Tehran apparently eased after Iran's retaliatory missile strike following the U.S. killing of top general Soleimani, with world leaders stepping in to facilitate diplomatic channels.

Both sides appeared to step back Wednesday after Iran launched a series of ballistic missiles at Iraq's al-Asad airbase and another facility in Irbil housing American troops without causing any casualties. Claiming 80 soldiers were killed in the strike, Iran said the attack was retaliation for the U.S. strike that killed Gen. Qassem Soleimani, the architect of its regional security strategy, in Iraq earlier this week.

As head of Iran's elite Quds Force, Soleimani had mobilized armed proxies across the region and was blamed for deadly attacks against Americans going back to the 2003 U.S.-led invasion of Iraq. He was instrumental in carving out a sphere of Iranian influence running through Syria, Lebanon, Iraq and Yemen using sectarian divisions, challenging regional rival Saudi Arabia as well and arch-foe Israel.

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