U.S. troops injured by Iranian-backed militant attack in Iraq  


Iranian-backed militants attacked U.S. and and Iraqi troops Saturday at a base in western Iraq with ballistic missiles and rockets, and some American service members are being evaluated for traumatic brain injuries, according to U.S. officials.

The attack with ballistic missiles on the al-Asad base represents an escalation of the dozens of attacks mounted by the militants since Israel's invasion of Gaza. Until Saturday, most of the attacks have been relatively minor and involved drones and rockets in Iraq and Syria. Ballistic missiles can carry heavier explosive loads.

The Biden administration has sought to contain the fighting to Gaza but has increasingly been drawn into skirmishes with Iranian-backed militants across the Middle East. In Yemen, the Pentagon on Saturday mounted its sixth attack on Houthi militants to destroy what U.S. Central Command said was an anti-ship missile that was poised for launch into shipping lanes in the Red Sea.

Militants launched Saturday's attack on al-Asad with "multiple ballistic missiles and rockets," according to a statement by U.S. Central Command. Most of the missiles were intercepted, while others struck the base.

Two U.S. troops sustained minor injuries in the attack, according to a Defense official who was not authorized to speak publicly. The number of troops wounded will fluctuate as service members report symptoms in the coming days. The missiles did not cause serious damage to the base, used by U.S. and Iraqi troops to counter ISIS militants.

Iranian-backed militias have launched 130 attacks against U.S. and coalition troops in Iraq and Syria since October, according to the Pentagon.

In January 2020, Iranians fired 13 ballistic missiles at al-Asad and more than 100 troops had suffered traumatic brain injuries.