U.S. seeking Iraqi nod to bring in air defenses after Iran attack

Source: Reuters

U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper speaks about airstrikes by the U.S. military in Iraq and Syria, at the Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Florida, U.S., December 29, 2019. REUTERS/Tom Brenner/File Photo
FILE PHOTO: U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper speaks about airstrikes by the U.S. military in Iraq and Syria, at the Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Florida, U.S., December 29, 2019. REUTERS/Tom Brenner/File Photo

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The United States is trying to secure permission from Iraq to bring Patriot missile defenses into the country to better defend U.S. forces after Iran’s Jan. 8 missile attack, which wounded 50 American troops, Defense Secretary Mark Esper said on Thursday.

The United States did not have Patriot air defenses deployed to al-Asad air base in Iraq, where at least 11 of Iran’s ballistic missiles struck.

Tehran had been expected to retaliate against the United States over the killing of a top Iranian general, but had been seen as more likely to strike U.S. positions in countries other than Iraq, where Tehran counts some influential allies. It had moved Patriots last year to Saudi Arabia, for example.

Reporting by Idrees Ali and Phil Stewart

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