THE ORIGINAL STORY FOLLOWS FIVE UPDATES.
Update: February 15: 08:00: Fox News reports that al-Asad is on high alert. There is serious concern that the attacks will reoccur. During the last one, Apaches raced to the scene.
“There is new concern that it will happen again and again, until the Islamic State has more success,” anchor Peter Doocy said.
Update: February 14: 14:00 EST:
Anbar is almost completely in the hands of ISIS.
(CNN )An Iraqi tribal leader said Saturday that ISIS militants are gaining ground in Anbar province, predicting a “collapse within hours” of Iraqi army forces there if tribal forces withdraw.
Sheikh Naim al-Gaoud, a Sunni Muslim leader of the Albu Nimr tribe, called for more U.S. intervention — including ground troops, arming tribes directly or at least pressuring the Iraqi government to give the tribes more firepower.
While U.S. officials have said that ISIS, which calls itself the Islamic State, is on the defensive in Iraq and Syria, al-Gaoud says that’s definitely not the case where he is.
“In Anbar, we are losing ground, not gaining,” he said.
If the al-Asad Air Force base in Anbar falls, ISIS will be on the doorstep of the capital.
There are reports that militants are firing upon the base using rocket fired missiles that have not reached inside the base as of yet. Sources tell CNN that ISIS is on the move and is about 10 miles from this base. They have used pick-up trucks loaded with explosives to try to break through the main gate of the base so that ground fighters can come behind them and infiltrate the base. They have not succeeded.
It is unrealistic, however, to think that 400 or so troops can hold the base against well-armed thousands. This base is out in the open.
The road in and out of the base is now in control of ISIS. The base is trapped but the soldiers are safe. We can have confidence in our military and the British military.
Barack Obama has arrived in Palm Springs where he reportedly plans to catch up on some golfing.
Update: February 13: Midnight EST: The following clip includes an update from Catherine Herridge.
Mr. Obama has not addressed this issue. Thousands of ISIS surround Ain al-Asad Air Force base which houses 320 U.S. Marines and British troops along with Iraqi trainees. They are within 7 miles of the base which does not have any natural defenses.
Barack Obama is in California fundraising and golfing.
The suicide bombers were wearing Iraqi army uniforms, according to CBS News.
There are about 400 U.S., British and Iraqi troops on the base, which is currently surrounded by thousands of ISIS fighters within 7 miles of the base perimeter.
The Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) supported by Coalition surveillance assets defeated the attack, killing all attackers. Some of the bombers or all of them set off their bombs.
The ISF have since re-secured their facility,” CJTF-OIR (Combined Joint Task Force-Operation Inherent Resolve) said in the statement. Coalition forces weren’t directly involved and were limited to air support.
The base “has been subjected to ineffective indirect fires … on average several times per week for several months now,” Pentagon spokesman Col. Steve Warren told reporters Thursday before the attack that breached the perimeter occurred. “Al Asad is a large and sprawling base. Thus far, none of the indirect fire attacks that have been launched against it have had any impact at all — no American casualties, no American equipment damaged.”
However, to think that 400 troops in a base with no natural protections can guard against thousands of militants is unrealistic and this situation is very concerning. There is no strategy to deal with the situation.
The U.S. military plans to train nine ISF brigades and three peshmerga brigades, Stars and Stripes wrote. Iraqi forces are expected to launch major offensives to retake key terrain, perhaps as early as this spring.
There are about 2,600 total U.S. troops in Iraq, according to Stars and Stripes
Update: February 13: 10:00 EST: The Pentagon said that there was no direct attack on the base on the 12th. There seems to be a government and news blackout, however, and check out this tweet from a foreign editor:
Heavy.com reports that ISIS now controls 90% of the area surrounding the base which is home to 320 U.S. Marines. As many as 15 surrounding towns were taken by ISIS in this last attack.
The base has been under regular assault since January.
I believe the Marines can handle it but here are only 320 of them. Tens of thousands of militants are reportedly pouring into Syria and Iraq to join ISIS.
Don’t worry, the leader of the free world is on it. He was happily making a selfie stick video just the other day during the same interview in which he discussed the murder of an American woman.
The situation is too confused and fluid to get an accurate read on it.
There are reports that ISIS is besieging al-Assad Air Base where 320 U.S. Marines and British military are training Iraqi soldiers. ISIS holds the surrounding areas except for Haditha.
There are unconfirmed reports by ISIS that there are fires inside the base. Other reports say the airstrip has been destroyed.
Some sites are saying U.S. personnel were evacuated.
The Pentagon says there has been no attack on the base and I would go with the Pentagon on this but the situation is not good. The base has been under regular mortar and rocket fire from ISIS.
Late afternoon EST, Reuters reported that the town near al-Asad Air Base – al-Baghdadi – was captured threatening the base.
Early evening, Eric Odom of Liberty News said they just captured the Air Base, which appears to not be accurate.
ISIS sites are claiming there are fires in the base but reports by Western media say the base is safe.
Some reports say most U.S. personnel have been evacuated.
The Air Base might be cut off.