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Rockets Hit Near Baghdad Airport       01/28 06:06


   BAGHDAD (AP) -- At least three rockets struck near Baghdad's international 
airport and an adjacent military base that hosts U.S. and other coalition 
advisors on Friday, damaging an abandoned commercial plane but causing no 
casualties, Iraqi officials said.

   The rockets struck in the early morning hours, and landed between the 
civilian and military areas of the airport, two security officials said on 
condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to brief the press.

   Iraqi Airways, the country's main carrier, said in a statement that the 
attack damaged one of its out of service planes parked near the airport but 
that operations were running normally and no delays were expected.

   The attack is the latest in a series of rocket and drone strikes that have 
targeted the American presence in Iraq since the start of the year, following 
the second anniversary of the U.S. strike that killed Iranian Gen. Qassim 
Soleimani and Iraqi militia commander Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis.

   Pro-Iran Shiite factions in Iraq have vowed revenge for Soleimani's killing 
and have conditioned the end of the attacks on the full exit of American troops 
from the country.

   The U.S.-led coalition formally ended its combat mission supporting Iraqi 
forces in the ongoing fight against the Islamic State group last month. Some 
2,500 troops will remain as the coalition shifts to an advisory mission to 
continue supporting Iraqi forces.

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