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Deadly rocket attack targets Iraqi base used by international forces

At least two Americans and one British soldier killed and others injured in attack on Camp Taji north of Baghdad
Camp Taji, located just north of Baghdad, has been used as a training base for a number of years (File/AFP)

A rocket attack targeting a base used by international forces in Iraq has killed at least three people, including two Americans and one British soldier, and injured about a dozen others, according to US defence officials.

The attack occurred on Wednesday evening at the Camp Taji base north of Baghdad which is used by forces deployed in Iraq as part of an international coalition fighting against the Islamic State (IS) group.

Myles Caggins, a spokesman for the US-led coalition in Iraq, said on Twitter that 15 small rockets hit Iraq's Camp Taji hosting coalition troops at 7:15 pm local time.

"Assessment and investigation ongoing," Caggins said. 

The attack was the deadliest strike on an installation in Iraq hosting foreign troops in several years. It comes after a spate of rocket attacks in recent weeks targeting US troops across Iraq as well as the US embassy in Baghdad. 

There was no immediate claim of responsibility, but Washington has blamed Iran-backed factions for similar attacks.

The US military said in a statement that the Iraqi military found a pick-up truck with a rocket launcher mounted in the back and three rockets still in the chambers.

Tension between Iran and the administration of US President Donald Trump has mostly played out on Iraqi soil in recent months.

The United States killed top Iranian commander Qassem Soleimani and Iraqi paramilitary chief Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis in a drone strike in Baghdad in January.

Iran launched its first direct missile attacks on two bases hosting US forces in response, though nobody was killed in the attacks.

Camp Taji has been used as a training base for a number of years. There are as many as 6,000 US troops in Iraq, training and advising Iraqi forces and conducting counter-terrorism missions.

The US leads an international coalition, comprised of dozens of countries and thousands of soldiers, formed in Iraq in 2014 to confront the Islamic State group (IS), that Baghdad declared defeated in late 2017. 

While IS has lost its territory, sleeper cells remain capable of carrying out attacks.

The Iraqi parliament voted to expel all foreign soldiers from the country in the wake of the killing of Soleimani, a decision that must be executed by the government. 

The outgoing government, which resigned in December in the face of mass protests, has yet to be replaced due to a lack of agreement in parliament, one of the most divided in Iraq's recent history.