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Islamic State Attacks Iraqi Base Housing Americans

Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL) attacked the Ayn al-Assad Iraqi air base housing American forces, according to the Pentagon.

There were no casualties from the U.S.-led coalition fighting ISIS, added the Department of Defense (DOD).

Citing Iraqi officials, CBS Radio News correspondent Cami McCormick reports that an American military official said between three and four fighters wearing explosive vests perished during the attack.

“The attack comes a day after a bombing during a match in a soccer stadium in the city of Iskanderiyah, 30 miles from the capital, Baghdad. ISIS claimed the attack, saying it had targeted Shiite militiamen,” reports the Associated Press (AP) and CBS News.

The death toll reached 41, with another 105 people injured, AP learned from Iraqi officials who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to brief reporters.

“The extremist group has lost ground in recent months in Iraq and Syria, but has struck back with a series of large attacks targeting civilians,” notes the news report. “ISIS claimed this week’s attacks in Brussels, which killed 31 people.”

Last week, the Iraqi army, backed by the United States, Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) Peshmerga forces, and Shiite militias, including some backed by Iran, launched an offensive to liberate Mosul from ISIS.

Meanwhile, Bashar al-Assad regime forces, backed by Russia and Iran-backed militias, have entered Palmyra in an effort to retake the city, which was conquered by ISIS in May 2015.

Referring to ISIS, AP reports, “The extremist group has been losing ground in Syria and Iraq for months under a stepped-up campaign of U.S.-led and Russian airstrikes, as well as ground assaults by multiple forces in each country.”

Over a week ago, Russia claimed it was winding down its military intervention in Syria that began in September 2015.

Various news outlets have reported that a Russian special forces officer had been killed in Syria, near the ancient city of Palmyra that was seized by ISIS last year.

Russia has kept secret the presence of its military troops in Syria since it began an intervention on behalf of Assad at the end of September 2015.

“On Wednesday, Russia said for the first time that it has special forces in combat roles in Syria, suggesting the Kremlin has been more deeply engaged in the Syrian conflict than it has previously acknowledged,” reported Reuters last week.

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