The remains of the wreckage of a drone that was shot down while flying over a US base near Baghdad airport, Baghdad, Iraq, 3 January, 2022. (Reuters)
On 4 January, two drones targeting an illegal US military base in Iraq’s Anbar governorate were shot down by the air defense system of the military base.
The two drones were taken down as they approached the Ain al-Asad airbase that houses US troops and some members of the armed forces of Iraq.
A statement by the communications department of the US forces in Iraq said, ”two fixed-wing drones rigged with explosives were engaged and destroyed by defensive capabilities at the Iraqi al-Asad airbase early this morning.”
Twenty-four hours before this incident, two drones attempted to attack another US base located near Baghdad’s international airport. The two kamikaze drones were also shot down before they could launch their strike.
This attack came on the day the region was marking the second anniversary of the assassination of the commander of the Quds forces of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, Qassem Soleimani and the deputy commander of Iraq’s Popular Mobilization Units (PMU), Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis.
The two leaders were assassinated alongside their companions when a US drone attacked their convoy outside Baghdad airport.
The wings of the drones that attacked the US base on 3 January had a message inscribed on their wings reading ‘Soleimani’s revenge.’
No group has claimed responsibility for the attack so far. Groups opposed to the presence of US troops in Iraq have in recent months ramped-up attacks against US bases and military convoys.
The assassinations of Soleimani and Al-Muhandis have increased opposition to the presence of US soldiers in Iraq.
On 5 January 2020, two days after the assassinations, the parliament of Iraq passed a resolution calling for the expulsion of all foreign troops from the country.
According to statements made in early 2021 by both Washington and Baghdad, US troops were set to leave Iraq before the end of 2021.
However, 2500 soldiers are still in the country, allegedly to ‘advise and train’ the armed forces of Iraq.
Some resistance groups have warned that they will continue attacking US soldiers until all US troops leave Iraq.