BAGHDAD — Eight suicide bombers believed to be with the barbaric Islamic group ISIS, also known as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, were killed on Friday after they set foot onto an Iraqi base that is occupied by U.S. Marines.
According to reports, Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) took out the bombers at the Ain al-Asad air base before they could get anywhere near the Marines. Coalition forces assisted in identifying the bombers.
“The ISF supported by Coalition surveillance assets defeated the attack, killing all eight attackers,” the Combined Joint Task Force-Operation Inherent Resolve outlined in a statement. “The ISF have since re-secured their facility.”
The Task Force also said that it did not believe that the U.S. military was in danger at that time.
“Coalition forces were several kilometers from the attack and at no stage where they under direct threat from this action,” it explained.
As previously reported, the base has been a target of Islamic militants in the past, being struck by mortar fire within the last two months. In January, NBC News reported that the Ain al-Asad base had been “pounded almost daily” by ISIS, but that U.S. officials characterized the assaults as being “nuisance attacks” and were unsuccessful. Approximately 300 Marines have been working to train Iraq’s 7th Division at the site.
Much of the town of al-Baghdadi was seized by ISIS on Thursday, just three miles from the air base. The attack is stated to have occurred from all directions as ISIS took control of the central police station, as well as other government buildings.
Ghazi Al-Gu’ood also told BAS News that the communication towers and the facility where national ID cards are issued were burned.
“Ninety percent of al-Baghdadi district has fallen under the control of the insurgents,” district manager Naji Arak told Reuters.
U.S. forces carried out several airstrikes in Iraq on Thursday as the assault was underway, but mainly in Mosul and Kirkuk, and the ISF was reportedly fighting back against the insurgency on Friday, seeking to reclaim al-Baghdadi from ISIS forces.
Earlier this week, Barack Obama sent out a letter to members of Congress seeking authorization for increased action against the terrorist organization, which he refers to as ISIL.
“If left unchecked, ISIL will pose a threat beyond the Middle East, including to the United States homeland,” he wrote.
Obama said that action would include limited ground troops.
“The authorization I propose would provide the flexibility to conduct ground combat operations in other, more limited circumstances, such as rescue operations involving U.S. or coalition personnel or the use of special operations forces to take military action against ISIL leadership,” he said.