Aviation News

June 16, 2011

Militants Fire Rockets at Basra Airport in Iraq

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By: BNO News
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Several militants on Wednesday morning fired a series of rockets at Iraqi and American forces who are stationed at Basrah International Airport in southeastern Iraq, the U.S. military said on Thursday.

Basrah International Airport main terminal building

Basrah International Airport main terminal building.

The attack happened on Wednesday morning when a small group of militants fired seven 107-mm rockets at the airport, where U.S. and Iraqi forces are stationed and several airlines operate passenger service. There were no reports of casualties as a result of the rocket impacts.

Shortly after the attack, a U.S. aircraft fired on the site from which the rockets were launched, according to U.S. military spokeswoman Angela Funaro. “A team of Iraqi security forces were alerted and dispatched to the site and found three of the men responsible for the attack — one dead and two wounded,” she said, denying local media reports which claimed the casualties were civilians.

“The wounded were sent to a local hospital and the [Iraqi Security Forces (ISF)] conducted a thorough search of the launch site, collecting evidence that will be used for criminal charges,” Funaro said.

Maj. Gen. Eddy M. Spurgin, the commanding general of U.S. Forces in Iraq Division-South, condemned the attack and said U.S. forces retain the right to act in self defense. “Violent extremists continue to put the lives of innocent Iraqis at risk. Their actions are inconsistent with the values and aspirations of the Iraqi people, and they will not be tolerated,” Spurgin warned.

Seven airlines serve Basra, including Iraqi Airways, Emirates, Turkish Airways and Royal Jordanian.