Updated Mar 3, 2021 - World

U.S. contractor dies of "cardiac episode" after rockets hit Iraq airbase

One U.S. contractor died of a "cardiac episode" after least 10 rockets hit the Al Asad Airbase in western Iraq hosting U.S.-led coalition troops, a Pentagon spokesperson said Wednesday.

The big picture: It's the first rocket attack since the U.S. launched an airstrike against facilities in Syria associated with an Iran-backed militia group last week, citing recent assaults and "ongoing threats to American and coalition personnel in Iraq.

  • Al Asad Airbase was one of two Iraqi bases where U.S. troops are stationed struck by Iran in January last year following the killing of Gen. Qasem Soleimani.
  • Iraq's military said the attack didn't result in major losses and "security forces had found the launch pad used for the missiles," per AP. No one has claimed responsibility for the rocket attack.

Of note: Wednesday's attack comes two days before Pope Francis is due to make the first papal visit to Iraq.

Editor's note: This article has been updated with more details on the attack and news of the single casualty.

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