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Iraqi Base That Hosts U.S. Troops Hit By Mortars


FILE PHOTO - An F-16 fighter jet from the US is seen on the tarmac at Iraq's Balad air base in the Salaheddin province, north of the capital Baghdad, July 20, 2015

The Iraqi military says three mortar shells have hit an Iraqi Air Force base just north of Baghdad where U.S. soldiers are training Iraqi forces.

In a statement, Iraq’s military said the shelling early on June 15 ignited a small fire at Balad Air Base but did not result in any casualties.

The attack occurred amid rising tension in the Middle East between the United States and Iran, which intensified on June 13 after suspected Iranian attacks on two oil tankers near the Strait of Hormuz.

Iran has denied involvement.

In recent weeks, rockets of unknown origin have landed near the U.S. embassy in Baghdad. In May, the U.S. dispatched additional air and naval forces to the region citing intelligence allegedly pointing to impending attacks orchestrated by Iran, including in Iraq.

The crisis is rooted in the U.S. withdrawal last year from the 2015 nuclear deal between Tehran and world powers.

Washington subsequently reimposed sanctions on Iran and has been pressuring other countries, including U.S. allies, to join the renewed sanctions.

Based on reporting by AP and Reuters

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