New rocket attack in Iraqi capital, 6th in two weeks

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A rocket slammed into the Baghdad airport on Monday, the Iraqi military said, landing near a complex where US soldiers and diplomats are housed.

The airport has been shut to commercial flights since mid-March in an effort to stem the spread of the novel coronavirus, which has infected more than 20,000 in Iraq and cost over 1,100 lives.

“The rocket did not cause casualties or material damage,” the Iraqi military’s statement said.

The attack was not claimed, but Washington has blamed a host of similar incidents on Iran-backed fighters in Iraq.

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Since October, nearly three dozen attacks have targeted American interests in Iraq, including a range of military bases, the US embassy in Baghdad and US oil companies.

Some of them have been claimed by mysterious factions that the US believes to be fronts for pro-Tehran armed groups.

The pace of attacks slowed significantly starting in March but picked back up over the last two weeks, coinciding with the launch of strategic talks between Washington and Baghdad.

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A total of six rocket attacks since June 8 have targeted the US embassy, the Baghdad airport and a base further north where American and other foreign troops are based.

As part of the new strategic dialogue, Washington has already pledged to continue reducing in-country troop levels, which numbered about 5,200 last year.

But it has demanded Iraq take robust action against those behind the rockets.

Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhemi recently gathered his national security council to discuss the attacks, pledging to hold the perpetrators accountable.

Iraqi security forces regularly recover the rudimentary launchers from which the projectiles are fired but have yet to apprehend the perpetrators themselves.

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