QAYARA AIR BASE, Iraq — The US-led coalition on Thursday started pulling out of a second base in Iraq, in line with a planned drawdown of troops, hours after two rockets hit inside Baghdad’s heavily fortified Green Zone.
The attack in the Iraqi capital, the seat of government and home to the American Embassy, was the first following a brief lull in violence from earlier this month. Iraqi officials also said the United States renewed a sanctions waiver enabling Iraq to import crucial gas and electricity from Iran, but with a shorter deadline.
The pullout from the Qayara airfield in northern Iraq is in line with plans to withdraw from bases across Iraq and consolidate coalition forces in Baghdad and at Ain al-Asad Air Base in the country’s western desert. The plan has been in the works since late last year, a senior coalition military official said last week, and accelerated when Iraqi forces proved they were capable of facing the threat from the Islamic State with limited coalition assistance.
Coalition spokesman Myles Caggins said several hundred troops would depart the Qayara base in the coming days.