Danish soldiers in Iraq safe after base attack

Base in western Iraq attacked by Islamic State suicide bombers

The Ayn al-Asad military base in western Iraq, where 120 Danish troops are stationed, was attacked on Friday by Islamic State forces. No Danes were harmed in the attack.

Naval Commander John Riber Nordby of Forsvarsakademiet, the Defence Academy, told DR that there is “no reason to fear” that there will be reports of soldiers being killed.

“I don’t see that at all,” he told DR. “And I don’t see it because it doesn’t seem like the soldiers are going to get other assignments than the ones on the base and therefore they’re not exposed. This is why I do not imagine that we will have losses like we, for example, saw in Afghanistan.”

READ MORE: Danish soldiers begin training Kurdish troops

The base was attacked by between 20 and 25 suicide bombers, some of whom managed to detonate vests while others were killed by Iraqi forces.

Still dangeorus
Nordby still considers Iraq unsafe even though he estimates that the base is easy to monitor due to its location 220 kilometres west of Baghdad and is equipped with early-warning technology. Additionally, the Americans there use drones to monitor the area.

The base, however, is often attacked with mortars and other long-range weaponry, which he told DR would “put Danish soldiers in imminent danger”.

The Islamic State is stronger in the Sunni areas of western Iraq, which is why the soldiers are at the base training Iraqi government forces.

“This is the area where the Iraqi government army stands as the weaker military force,” Nordby explained to DR.