Rockets target Iraqi airbase after clashes with IS

TARMIYAH, IRAQ (AFP) – Four rockets hit the Al-Balad airbase north of the Iraqi capital on Saturday, the military said, as security sources told AFP a local contractor for a United States (US) company managing Iraq’s F-16s was wounded.

The attack came hours after Iraqi security forces raided an Islamic State (IS) hideout in the plains of Tarmiyah, with clashes leaving five extremists and two pro-government fighters dead, according to the Iraqi military.

F-16s at the Al-Balad airbase were backing the ongoing Tarmiyah operation against IS sleeper cells at the time of the rocket attack, two security sources told AFP.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility.

A local army source told AFP that Katyusha-style rockets were fired at Al-Balad.

One of the rockets hit a part of the base hosting employees of Sallyport.

“An Iraqi contractor sustained moderate injuries,” one of the sources said.

Another rocket hit a runway, without disrupting the take-off and landing of aircraft, while a third hit nearby woodlands, the source said.