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U.S. personnel are injured after Iranian-backed militants attacked an Iraq air base

This Dec. 29, 2019, aerial file photo taken from a helicopter shows Ain al-Asad air base in the western Anbar desert, Iraq.
Nasser Nasser
/
AP
This Dec. 29, 2019, aerial file photo taken from a helicopter shows Ain al-Asad air base in the western Anbar desert, Iraq.

An unknown number of U.S. service members and at least one Iraqi service member suffered injuries in an attack by Iranian-backed militants on an air base in western Iraq, U.S. officials said.

A barrage of missiles and rockets targeted the Ain al-Asad base on Saturday evening, U.S. Central Command said in a statement.

Most of the missiles were intercepted by the base's air defense systems, according to the military, but an untold number hit the base where Americans and Iraqis are stationed. A damage assessment is ongoing.

A "number" of U.S. personnel are being evaluated for traumatic brain injuries, CENTCOM said, without specifying how many.

Last month, three U.S. service members were wounded, one critically, in a drone attack on their base in northern Iraq. The U.S. responded with airstrikes that it said destroyed facilities and likely killeda number of Kataib Hezbollah militants in Iraq.

It's the latest in a series of back-and-forth attacks between Iran-aligned groups and U.S. forces in the region since the Oct. 7 Hamas attack on Israel that led to the deadly war in Gaza. Since then, the U.S. has issued warnings of a wider war in the region. Hamas is part of a regional alliance supported by Iran and loosely united by their resistance to Western powers and Israel.

NPR's Tom Bowman contributed to this report.

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