Rockets are fired at US embassy in Baghdad
Rockets have been fired at the US embassy in Iraq’s capital, according to security sources.
At least three rockets targeted the building in the high-security Green Zone in Baghdad.
One of them fell within the perimeter of the Green Zone but others landed in surrounding residential neighbourhoods.
The attack is the third in a week to target Western diplomatic, military or commercial installations in Iraq after months of relative calm.
Yesterday, at least eight Katyusha rockets landed in the Green zone in an attack targeting the US embassy, causing some minor damage on the compound.
Rockets have been fired at the US embassy in Iraq’s capital, according to security sources. Pictured: A member of the Iraqi security forces inspects the damage outside the Zawraa park in the capital Baghdad on November 18, 2020, after volley of rockets slammed into the Iraqi capital breaking a month-long truce on attacks against the US embassy
The Iraqi military said an ‘outlaw group’ fired the eight rockets. Most of the missiles hit a residential complex and a security checkpoint inside the zone, damaging buildings and cars and wounding one Iraqi soldier, a military statement said.
Sirens blared from the embassy compound inside the zone, which houses government buildings and foreign missions.
An anti-rocket system diverted one of the rockets, said one security official whose office is inside the Green Zone.
The US Embassy condemned the attack and urged all Iraqi political and governmental leaders to take steps to prevent such attacks and to hold accountable those responsible.
‘The US Embassy confirms rockets targeting the International Zone resulted in the engagement of Embassy defensive systems. There was some minor damage on the Embassy compound but no injuries or casualties,’ it said in a statement.
In a subsequent statement, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said there had been at least one Iraqi civilian casualty and wished those hurt a speedy recovery.
A week ago, a rocket strike on a US base in Iraq by a group believed to have links to Iran has wounded several Americans and killed a foreign contractor.
More than a dozen 107mm rockets were last night fired at the military complex in Erbil airport that has hosted troops deployed as part of the international alliance fighting ISIS since 2014.
US officials blame Iran-backed militia for regular rocket attacks on U.S. facilities in Iraq, including near the embassy in Baghdad. No known Iran-backed groups have claimed responsibility.
Pompeo called such militias the most serious impediment to peace and prosperity in Iraq, and added: ‘We call on all Iraqis to support their government’s efforts to reinforce Iraq’s sovereignty, to bring to justice those responsible for these reprehensible attacks and ensure that all the currently Iran-backed militias are under state control.’
An array of militia groups announced in October that they had suspended rocket attacks on U.S. forces on condition that Iraq’s government present a timetable for the withdrawal of American troops.
But a rocket strike on the U.S. Embassy on Nov. 18 was a clear sign that Iranian-backed militias had decided to resume attacks on U.S. bases, according to Iraqi security officials.
Washington, which is slowly reducing its 5,000 troops in Iraq, threatened to shut its embassy unless the Iraqi government reins in Iran-aligned militias.