The attack on the sprawling Ain al-Asad Airbase in Iraq's western desert comes just two days before the first-ever papal visit to the country by Pope Francis, who said he would still make the visit so as not to "disappoint" the Iraqi people, AFP wrote.
US-led coalition spokesman Colonel Wayne Marotto confirmed that 10 rockets hit the base at 7:20 a.m. (0420 GMT) while Iraqi security forces said they had found the platform from which 10 "Grad-type rockets" hit Ain al-Asad.
"One civilian contractor died of a heart attack during the attack," a high-level security source said, adding that he could not confirm the contractor's nationality.
The death marks the third fatality in rocket attacks in recent weeks, after rockets targeting US-led troops in the Kurdish regional capital of Arbil left two people dead.
Days later, more rockets hit a US military contracting company working north of the capital and the US Embassy in Baghdad, but only injuries were reported.
The US carried out an airstrike on February 26 against Iraq’s Kataeb Hezbollah stationed along the Iraqi-Syrian border, where they were engaged in fighting the remnants of the Daesh terror group.
The Iraqi counter-terrorism force pledged retaliation, prompting the US military forces to go on high alert and adopt maximum security measures in anticipation of a response, Press TV wrote.
There has been a spike in attacks on US military bases and diplomatic missions amid anti-US sentiment over the assassination of top Iranian anti-terror commander Lieutenant General Qassem Soleimani in Baghdad early last year.
General Soleimani, the commander of the Quds Force of Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC), and Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, the deputy head of Iraq’s Popular Mobilization Units, were targeted along with their companions on January 3, 2020 in a drone strike authorized by former US president Donald Trump near Baghdad International Airport.
On January 8, 2020, the IRGC launched a missile attack on Ain al-Asad in retaliation. Washington put a lid on the true number of casualties as well as the extent of material damage caused to the base, which was reported to be immense.
According to the Pentagon, more than 100 American forces suffered “traumatic brain injuries” during the counterstrike on the base.