US contractor dies in rocket attack on Iraqi base hosting US-led coalition troops

BAGHDAD — A U.S. contractor died early Wednesday in a rocket attack on an air base hosting American and coalition troops in Iraq, according to the Department of Defense.

Update 3:55 p.m. ET March 3: Pentagon press secretary John Kirby said a U.S. civilian contractor had a heart attack early Wednesday while sheltering during a rocket attack on Iraq’s Ain-al Asad airbase.

The contractor, who was not immediately identified, died a short while later, Kirby said. No U.S. servicemembers were injured in the attack.

“Thank God, no one was killed by the rocket,” President Joe Biden told reporters gathered Wednesday in the Oval Office. “One individual, a contractor, died of a heart attack. But we’re identifying who’s responsible and will make judgments from that point” about a response.

Original report: Ten indirect fire rockets targeted Iraq’s Ain al-Asad airbase, which is hosting coalition troops led by U.S. forces, on Wednesday morning, authorities said.

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According to The Associated Press, spokesman Col. Wayne Marotto tweeted that the attack occurred about 7:20 a.m. local time.

“Iraqi [security forces] are leading the response and investigation,” he wrote. “Further information will be released as it becomes available.”

Iraqi military officials said the strike “did not cause significant losses,” the AP reported. Security forces have located the launch pad used in the attack, authorities said.

Officials have not said whether the incident caused any casualties, according to the AP.

News of the attack came days after the U.S. targeted a facility last week along the Iraq-Syria border used by militias aligned with Iran, the AP reported.

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The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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