Soldiers wounded in rocket attack

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Amara - A rocket attack on a United States military base in Iraq's southern Maysan province wounded three American soldiers on Wednesday, a US military spokesperson and an Iraqi security official said.

“We have operational reports of five rockets landing on or near COS (Contingency Operating Station) Garry Owens that injured three service members,” the spokesperson said.

“Reports indicate the attack took place this evening,” the spokesperson said, adding that COS Garry Owens is on Al-Batirah airfield, about 10km west of Amara, the capital of Maysan province.

The Iraqi security official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, had earlier said that four Katyusha rockets hit a US base west of Amara at about 8pm.

Emergency vehicles were seen heading to the area as helicopters flew overhead, an AFP journalist reported.

The rocket attack comes with less than three months to go before a year-end withdrawal deadline for the roughly 41 500 US soldiers currently in Iraq, with Baghdad and Washington yet to reach any accord on a post-2011 training mission.

The United States insists that any trainers must have immunity from Iraqi prosecution, as US forces in the country currently do, while Iraqi officials say such immunity is unnecessary.

Despite a decline in violence nationwide since its peak in 2006 and 2007, attacks remain common, though Iraqis rather than Americans are usually the victims.

A total of 185 Iraqis were killed in violence in September, according to official figures. - Sapa-AFP

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