A barrage of rockets has hit an Iraqi military base housing US-led coalition troops for the second time this week, security officials said.
Three coalition service personnel – a British woman and two Americans – were killed in the first attack on Camp Taji on Wednesday.
It was the deadliest attack on coalition troops in Iraq since a late December rocket attack on an Iraqi base that killed a US contractor and set in motion a series of tit-for-tat attacks that brought Iraq to the brink of war.
In retaliation, the US launched a series of air strikes on militia bases across Iraq’s south, killing five Iraqi security forces and a civilian.
US soldiers walk around at the Taji base complex in Iraq which hosts Iraqi and US troops (pictured in 2014)
Lance Corporal Brodie Gillon, 26, who served as a reserve with the Scottish and North Irish Yeomanry, died in the attack on Wednesday after a dozen missiles were fired at the camp north of Baghdad.
A further dozen people were wounded in what Prime Minister Boris Johnson described as an ‘abhorrent attack’.
LCpl Gillon had served as a Reserve with the Scottish and North Irish Yeomanry, who specialise in reconnaissance and gathering intelligence on enemy targets and local environments.
Lance Corporal Brodie Gillon, 26, has been named by the Ministry of Defence as the servicewoman who was killed in a rocket attack on Camp Taji, near Baghdad, Iraq
She joined the Armed Forces in September 2015 as a Combat Medical Technician, and had been working as a sports therapist in Scotland while not on duty. She qualified as a Class 1 Combat Medical Technician in 2018.
The reservist was killed while volunteering as part of the Irish Guards Battle Group during their deployment to Iraq, the MoD confirmed.
Her commanding officer, Lieutenant Colonel William Leek, Commanding Officer Scottish and North Irish Yeomanry, said: ‘LCpl Brodie Gillon was a hugely popular character in the Scottish and North Irish Yeomanry and we are proud and humbled to have served with her in our ranks.
‘She was a larger than life soldier who was determined to deploy on operations, help others, develop herself and gain practical experience.
‘She had already achieved a great deal in her relatively short time with us and it was abundantly clear that she was destined for great things in her civilian and military careers. Her loss is keenly felt.
‘My deepest condolences go to her family and loved ones. They are in my thoughts and prayers, and those of the wider Regimental family.’
Army Colonel Myles Caggins, the Operation Inherent Resolve spokesperson retweeted these images of rocket launchers earlier this week when confirming the attack on Taji base in Iraq
Deputy Commander Field Army, Major General Celia Harvey OBE QVRM TD DL, said L/Cpl Gillon was fulfilling a ‘long-term ambition’ to serve on an operational tour in Iraq.
She said: ‘As a Combat Medical Technician, she was carrying out an essential role as part of a closely-knit team, helping to bring stability to Iraq.
‘She was a soldier who showed fantastic commitment and determination, combined with a fun-loving personality.
‘On behalf of the British Army, I offer my deepest condolences to L/Cpl Gillon’s family and loved ones for their loss. She made the ultimate sacrifice and will always be remembered.’
Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said it was clear L/Cpl Gillon was a ‘shining example of what our Armed Forces and Reserves stand for’, as he sent his condolences to her family.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson (pictured during Wednesday’s Prime Minister’s questions) said: ‘It is with deep sadness that I learned that a UK soldier was killed in the attack’
US officials said it was too early to assign blame, but any indication that Iran-backed militia were responsible could ignite a new round of military escalation between the United States and Iran.
In a tribute earlier this week, Boris Johnson said: ‘It is with deep sadness that I learned that a UK soldier was killed in the attack at the Taji military base. My thoughts go out to their loved ones at this extremely difficult time.
‘Our servicemen and women work tirelessly every day to uphold security and stability in the region – their presence makes us all safer.
‘The Foreign Secretary has spoken to the US Secretary of State and we will continue to liaise with our international partners to fully understand the details of this abhorrent attack.’
This is while defence secretary Ben Wallace called the attack a ‘cowardly and retrograde act’.
‘The men and women of the UK armed forces are in Iraq to help that country establish stability and prosperity. The people that did this are not friends of Iraq.
‘My thoughts are with the families of those whose loved ones have been killed or injured. We shall not forget their sacrifice and will ensure those who committed these acts face justice.’
US officials declined to quantify the number of troops and military contractors among the dead and wounded and said the information was just coming in and could change.
Army Colonel Myles Caggins, a US military spokesman in Iraq, said that more than 15 small rockets hit Iraq’s Camp Taji base at around 7.35pm in Iraq on March 11.
US soldiers fighting the terrorist group known as ISIS in Iraq are seen in an image posted on Twitter by national security correspondent for Voice of America Jeff Seldin. Two service members killed during a raid Sunday were not identified pending notification of next of kin
Earlier on Wednesday, the Iraqi military said no casualties had been reported in the attack.
Camp Taji, located just north of Baghdad, has been used as a training base for a number of years.
There are as many as 6,000 US troops in Iraq, training and advising Iraqi forces and conducting counter-terror missions.
Iran-backed paramilitary groups have regularly been rocketing and shelling bases in Iraq that host US forces and the area around the US Embassy in Baghdad.