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People's Daily Online

U.S. military experts withdraw from air base in Iraq: sources

People's Daily Online

(Xinhua) 08:52, May 11, 2021

BAGHDAD, May 10 (Xinhua) -- U.S. experts and advisers for F-16 fighter jets withdrew from Balad Air Base after a series of rocket attacks targeted the air base in Iraq's Salahudin province, Iraqi sources said on Monday.

"Up to 72 experts flew before noon by a military aircraft from Balad Air Base and headed to Erbil, the capital of the Iraqi semi-autonomous region of Kurdistan," an army source anonymously told Xinhua.

A Salahudin provincial security source confirmed to Xinhua that the U.S. team of experts withdrew from Balad Air Base, some 80 km north of Baghdad, and headed to Erbil.

Balad, which houses Iraqi F-16 jet fighters, is the largest military air base in Iraq.

Previously, the U.S. troops also withdrew more than a year ago after the airbase came under a series of rocket attacks by unidentified militias.

On Sunday, Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi said during his meeting with some local media that "the absurd rockets do not target the Americans, because Balad Air Base contains Iraqi aircraft and Iraqi forces, and what is happening embarrasses Iraq."

The Iraqi military bases housing U.S. troops across Iraq and the U.S. embassy in the Green Zone have been frequently targeted by mortar and rocket attacks.

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