ISIS militants have reportedly seized a significant portion of a western Iraqi town which includes the Ain al-Asad air base where U.S. Marines are training. Islamic State fighters seized the Iraq town of al-Baghdadi on Thursday, according to a Reuters report.
Islamic State insurgents have now seized 90 percent of the town surrounding the air base, according to statements an Iraqi officials made to Reuters. “There was no direct attack on the al-Asad air base,” a Defense Department representative told Fox News. But the spokeswoman also acknowledged reports of “ineffective indirect fire in the vicinity of the base” along with ongoing “heavy fighting” by ISIS in the area.
The Reuters reported maintains that ISIS insurgents did engage in an attack n the Ain al-Asad air base where U.S. Marines are training Iraqi soldiers, but have so far failed to break into the facility. The Ain al-Asad air base is about a 13-minute drive from the al-Baghdadi base. President Barack Obama sent approximately 320 Marines to the air base for the training sessions. “It bears watching,” Colonel Thomas Lynch, retired, said of the ISIS fighting near the air base.
The area around the Iraqi base in the Anbar Province has long a “hot zone” of ISIS fighting for quite a while. The insurgents are reportedly focused on the region in an effort to expand its self-declared caliphate territory in both Iraq and Syria. Last month the Pentagon confirmed for the first time that U.S. troops at the Al Asad base in Iraq subjected to “regular mortar fire.”
A Defense Department spokeswoman addressing the ongoing ISIS fighting near the base, said, “We continue to support efforts by Iraqi Security Forces, working in conjunction with tribal fighters, directed against ISIL in the province.” Islamic State militants attacked the town of al-Baghdadi from two directions before advancing inward
Colonel Lynch also emphasize that ISIS fighters must break through the perimeter of the Al Asad air base in order to pose a threat to United States Marines and others inside. The retired military expert added that while “it’s not impossible,” break through the secure perimeter at the Iraq base, Islamic State insurgents would be forced to amass a substantial number of fighters to achieve the task, which in turn make them “vulnerable” to airstrikes.
Do you think the U.S. Marines at the Al Asad air base in Iraq are in danger from ISIS militants?
[Image by Spencer Platt/Getty Images]