Iranian-backed militias launched a series of attacks seemingly targeting American and Israeli sites Thursday, the same day as the primetime address by President Joe Biden. The missile and drone attacks followed reports of an explosion near a hospital in Gaza that was likely caused by a failed Hamas rocket attack.
A number of American bases in Iraq were targeted by Iran-backed militias. This included multiple blasts reported at the Ain al-Asad airbase in western Iraq.
Furthermore, at least two rockets targeted a base with American forces in Baghdad. One of the missiles fired at the Baghdad airport was reportedly intercepted.
The group Harakat Hezbollah al-Nujaba claimed responsibility for the attacks on the airbase, claiming that it would launch more “surprises against American interests as Israeli aggression against the besieged Gaza Strip is poised to escalate.”
The Syrian government also claimed that an American base in Syria was also attacked by drones.
The Thursday attacks followed several the previous day. Two drone attacks against al-Asad airbase were intercepted, while a third drone at an unspecified location in northern Iraq was destroyed. Several soldiers were reportedly injured by the Wednesday attacks on the airbase and an American civilian contractor reportedly died after a heart attack.
During the Rocket Attack tonight on U.S. Forces at the Victory Base Complex and Baghdad International Airport in Central Iraq, 1 Rocket was Shot Down by the Base’s Close-In Weapons Systems while another Impacted a Facility used by U.S. Personnel; Thankfully the Damage to the Base…
— OSINTdefender (@sentdefender) October 20, 2023
The Pentagon also announced that a U.S. Navy destroyer shot down two missiles reportedly fired by Houthi rebels in Yemen. The missiles were believed to be headed toward Israel.
Iran is a chief backer of the rebels in the ongoing Yemeni Civil War.
The attacks appeared to stem from an explosion near the Al-Ahli Arab Hospital in Gaza, which Hamas claimed killed 500 civilians. The terrorist organization, which runs Gaza’s government, accused Israel of causing the blast.
However, a further investigation revealed that the number of dead was likely more in the range of 10-50. Furthermore, the hospital itself was not destroyed as the explosion took place in an adjoining parking lot. Israel and the United States indicated their belief that the incident was caused by a failed Hamas rocket launch.