Rocket attack hits north Iraq base hosting USA troops, say security sources

People gather around the fire during the Newroz celebrations on March 20, 2018 in Kirkuk, Iraq.

Iraqi security forces leave a military base as Kurdish forces take over control in Kirkuk June 11, 2014.

A rocket attack hit an Iraqi base in the province of Kirkuk where USA troops are stationed, AFP reported, citing Iraqi and U.S. security sources.

Those troops, as well as the USA embassy in Baghdad, have faced almost 20 rocket attacks over the past four months.

The Katyusha rocket hit the base at about 8:45 local time (17:45 GMT), the agency added, quoting three separate Iraqi security sources.

It said security forces found the launch pad from which the rocket was sacked, with 11 more rockets still inside, but the perpetrators were on the run.

A rocket attack on K1 killed a USA contractor on December 27 and led Washington to conduct an airstrike that killed top Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani and senior Iraqi militia commander Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis.

The US then carried out retaliatory attacks that killed 25 Kataib Hezbollah fighters.

Supporters of the group then surrounded the United States embassy in Baghdad, breaking through its outer perimeter in an unprecedented breach.

The attack infuriated Shiite Iraqi lawmakers who voted to oust US troops from the country in a January 3 Parliament session. A prior warning had been issued for the troops, and nobody was killed.