Ramallah (--), 05/11/2023.- US Secretary of State Antony Blinken looks on during a meeting with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas (not pictured) in the West Bank city of Ramallah, 05 November 2023. EFE/EPA/ALAA BADARNEH / POOL

Pro-Iranian militia attacks base with US presence in Iraq amid Blinken’s visit

Baghdad, Nov 5 (EFE). – The pro-Iranian Islamic Resistance group on Sunday claimed responsibility for a new attack on the Ain al Asad military base housing US personnel in western Iraq, in the midst of United States Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s unexpected visit to Baghdad.

The Iranian-backed alliance of Iraqi militias said in a statement that it attacked the Ain al Asad base Sunday night with “four mortar shells that hit their target” and that “the fighters then safely withdrew.”

It is not yet known whether the attack caused any damage or casualties.

However, the base -one of the most important in Iraq- has been a recurring target of the Islamic Resistance in recent weeks.

This new attack took place during Blinken’s surprise visit to Baghdad, where he met with Iraqi Prime Minister Mohammed Shia’ Al Sudani.

Earlier, at a press conference from Baghdad, the Secretary of State said, “I made very clear that the attacks, the threats coming from the militia that are aligned with Iran are totally unacceptable and we will take every necessary step to protect our people.”

“We’re not looking for conflict with Iran – we’ve made that very clear – but we’ll do what’s necessary to protect our personnel, be they military or civilian,” he added.

Blinken assured that his priority is to ensure the safety of US personnel, who have been the subject of twenty attacks in Iraq and Syria since October 17 last year, leaving at least 21 injured, according to the Pentagon.

The Islamic Resistance in Iraq also claimed responsibility for a drone strike on a US base in northeastern Syria early Sunday afternoon, while the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said an explosion occurred at the facility, without specifying whether there were casualties.

The Pentagon announced on October 31 its decision to mobilize another 300 troops in the Middle East to avoid a regional escalation of the conflict, a measure that comes on top of the one carried out on October 26 to send another 900 soldiers. EFE