U.S. forces in Iraq thwarted a second explosives-laden drone attack in as many days Tuesday, as U.S. forces in Syria destroyed what was believed to be an enemy rocket launch site.
“Two drones approaching Ain al-Asad Air Base were shot down outside the base’s vicinity without casualties early this morning,” the official Twitter account for the international military coalition in Iraq posted Tuesday, referring to an Iraqi base that houses U.S. and coalition troops.
Two other suicide drones were shot down Monday near Baghdad International Airport, which is also used by the international coalition.
Monday’s unmanned aerial attack came on the second anniversary of a U.S. drone strike that killed Iranian Quds Force leader Qasem Soleimani in Baghdad. Images of one of the downed drones from Monday’s attack showed the words “Soleimani’s revenge” painted on the wings.
Pentagon press secretary John Kirby told reporters the attacks used similar tactics, techniques and procedures seen from Iranian-backed militia groups who have targeted U.S. and coalition troops in the past.
“These kinds of attacks are very much in keeping with the kinds of attacks we’ve seen from Iran-backed militias in Iraq and in Syria, and so obviously our working level assumption is that that such groups were responsible for these, but I don’t want to speculate beyond that,” Kirby said in response to a question from VOA.
Speaking in Tehran on Monday, Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi said Iran would take revenge for Soleimani’s death if former U.S. President Donald Trump and former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo are not prosecuted.
In eastern Syria, the U.S. military said it hit a rocket launch site Tuesday that it believed was going to be used to attack a nearby U.S. military facility known as “Green Village.”
“Clearly, our men and women remain in harm’s way, and we have to take that threat very seriously. We always have the right of self-defense,” Kirby said, adding that he was not in a position to assign “specific attribution” to those responsible for the rocket launch site.