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Seven Katyusha rockets on Sunday hit Balad airbase, which previously housed U.S. troops, in Iraq’s central province of Salahudin, a provincial security source said.

The attack took place in the evening when the rockets landed on the airbase, located some 90 km north of Iraqi capital Baghdad, wounding four soldiers and causing damages to nearby buildings, the source told Xinhua on condition of anonymity.

Balad air base is the largest military air base in Iraq, also known by the U.S. forces as the Logistics Support Activity (LSA) Anaconda.

The airbase was housing a number of U.S. troops and advisors of an American company operating the Iraqi F-16 jet fighters, but they withdrew about a week ago after the international U.S.-led coalition announced the suspension of its operations against the Islamic State (IS) militants in Iraq.

No group has so far claimed responsibility for the attack.

The attack came a few days after Qais al-Khazali, leader of the Iraqi Iran-backed Shiite militia Asa’ib Ahl al-Haq, said the Iranian initial response to the killing of the Iranian military leader is done and it is time for Iraq to respond to the U.S. airstrike.

Al-Khazali’s threat came after Iran fired ballistic missiles earlier in the day on military bases housing U.S. troops in Iraq’s western province of Anbar and near the city of Erbil, capital of the semi-autonomous region of Kurdistan.

Last week, a U.S. drone attacked a convoy at Baghdad International Airport, killing Qassem Soleimani, commander of the Quds Force of Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps, and Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, deputy chief of Iraq’s paramilitary Hashd Shaabi forces.

More than 5,000 U.S. troops have been deployed in Iraq to support the Iraqi forces in the battles against Islamic State militants.

Source: Xinhua – BAGHDAD

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