The US-led coalition in Iraq shot down two armed drones near Baghdad airport Monday that were targeting a military base hosting US troops.
A coalition official said a rocket defense system “two fixed-wing suicide drones … they were shot down without incident” and said nobody was hurt in the incident.
The attack coincided with the second anniversary of the US assassination of Iranian Gen. Qasem Soleimani and Iraqi militia leader Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis. The two military leaders were killed in a drone strike ordered by President Trump.
The slaying of Soleimani and al-Muhandis enraged many in Iraq, and the Iraqi parliament voted to expel US forces in the wake of the drone strike. But two years later, US troops remain in the country.
In an effort to placate those in Iraq opposed to the US presence, Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi agreed to formally end the US combat mission against ISIS. But US troops are staying in an advisory role, and it’s not clear if any of the 2,500 US troops that were stationed in Iraq have left.
Last week, Kadhimi declared the end of the combat mission, but the Iraqi military has said it still needs the US-led coalition to continue airstrikes against ISIS targets, making it clear that nothing has changed.
Drone and rocket attacks against US forces in Iraq are common and are expected to increase now that it’s clear the US isn’t going anywhere. According to Rudaw, there were at least 30 attacks on bases housing US troops in Iraq in 2021.