Two Marines were killed and several more injured when Afghan militants armed with rocket propelled grenades and small arms breached the perimeter of the main U.S. Marine base in southern Afghanistan, following a rocket and mortar attack on the base that is shared with British forces.
Army Maj. Martyn Crighton, a spokesman at International Security Assistance Force’s Joint Command, said the attack on Camp Bastion/ Camp Leatherneck may still be ongoing. At least two were killed and a number were wounded. 16 Taliban were killed in the attack.
The base took indirect and small arms fire, causing major damage to buildings, an aircraft hangar and several military jets. Two of the eight Harrier jets at the base were damaged or destroyed, a US military source tells Fox News.
The attack occurred on the same base where a burning man, largely assumed to be an Afghan suicide bomber targeted the plane of Defense Secretary Leon Panetta in March.
The base is a major military facility in the war-ravaged nation’s Helmand province.
Britain’s Prince Harry is stationed at the base with his Apache helicopter unit.
This facility is often subject to indirect fire, but officials in Afghanistan say the damage that has resulted is far more severe than normal. The attacks came during a period of intense protests and violence elsewhere in the Middle East.
Fox News has learned that the attack by armed militants on the main US marine base in southern Afghanistan was larger and more sophisticated than first reported.
The attack occurred on the same base where a burning man, largely assumed to be an Afghan suicide bomber targeted the plane of the Defense Secretary Leon Panetta back in mid-March. Since then security at the base was not increased and responsibility for securing the compound, known as Camp Bastion/Leatherneck was transitioned to joint control with Afghan security forces in spite of a recent spate of “insider attacks” carried out by Afghans who NATO forces had trained or who had permission to be on U.S. bases.
The attackers managed to breach the airport perimeter with small arms gunfire. Rockets or mortars were initially fired at the base. An aircraft hangar was set on fire and 2 of the 8 total Harrier jets at the base were damaged or destroyed, according to US military sources. “Our crash fire rescue crews did a heroic job of containing a hangar fire,” according to one military spokesman.
Two U.S. Marines were killed, several injured in the attack on the base where Britain’s Prince Harry is stationed with his Apache helicopter unit. Prince Harry, known to his unit as Captain Wales, recently arrived at Camp Bastion, according to information released last week by Buckingham Palace. The Taliban issued statements threatening to kidnap or kill the prince, whose birthday is Sept. 15. Major General Charles Gurganus is the Marine General who is in charge of the base and its security.
Fox News’ Justin Fishel and Jennifer Griffin contributed to this report.