At least ten rockets slammed into a military base in western Iraq hosting US-led coalition troops, security sources said, leaving one civilian contractor dead.
The attack on the sprawling Ain al-Assad base in Iraq's western desert comes after several weeks of escalating US-Iran tensions on Iraqi soil - and just two days before Pope Francis's historic visit to Iraq.
Ain al-Assad hosts both Iraqi forces and US-led coalition troops helping fight the Islamic State group, as well as the unmanned drones the coalition uses to surveil jihadist sleeper cells.
Coalition spokesman Colonel Wayne Marotto confirmed that ten rockets hit the base at 7.20 am (04.20 GMT) while Iraqi security forces said they had found the platform from which ten "Grad-type rockets" hit the Ain al-Assad base.
Western security sources told AFP the rockets were Iranian-made Arash models, which are 122mm artillery rockets and heavier than those seen in similar attacks.
"One civilian contractor died of a heart attack during the attack," a high-level security source told AFP, adding that he could not confirm the contractor's nationality.
The death marks the third fatality in rocket attacks in recent weeks, after rockets targeting US-led troops in the Kurdish regional capital of Arbil left two people dead.
Dozens of rocket attacks and roadside bombs have targeted Western security, military and diplomatic sites in Iraq in 2020, with Iraqi and Western military sources blaming hardline pro-Iran factions.
They came to a near-complete halt in October following a truce with the hardliners, but they have resumed at a quickening pace over the past three weeks.
In mid-February, rockets targeted US-led coalition troops in the Kurdish regional capital Arbil, a US military contracting company working north of the capital and the US embassy in Baghdad.
Days later, more rockets hit a US military contracting company working north of the capital and the US embassy in Baghdad.
Despite the escalation in recent weeks, Pope Francis appears determined to go ahead on Friday with the first-ever papal visit to Iraq.
While he is not set to be in the country's west, he will spend time in Baghdad and Arbil, both hit by rocket attacks last month.
Iraq is simultaneously gripped by a second wave of the coronavirus, which is seeing more than 4,500 new cases a day in the country of 40 million.
To stem the spread and control the crowds during the Pope's visit, Iraq is set to extend its weekend lockdowns to include the entirety of the papal visit from 5 to 8 March.
Pope says he must go to Iraq because people cannot be let down
Pope Francis has said he is going to Iraq, where his predecessor John Paul was not allowed to go in 2000, because "the people cannot be let down for a second time."
Pope Francis, who is do to leave on Friday, asked for prayers so that the visit "can take place in the best possible way and bring about the desired fruits".
He made no mention of security problems in Iraq.