Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 6 April 2020

Rockets land near US embassy in Baghdad

Videos show smoke billowing from the Green Zone

The US embassy building in the heavily fortified Green Zone in central Baghdad, Iraq. EPA
The US embassy building in the heavily fortified Green Zone in central Baghdad, Iraq. EPA

Rockets landed near the US embassy in Iraq’s capital early on Sunday, an American military source said, in the latest of a series of attacks against the US in the country.

The assault sent warning sirens blaring across the diplomatic compound.

Iraqi security authorities said four Katyusha rockets fell in Baghdad, including three inside the Green Zone.

Another landed inside the Popular Mobilisation Forces’ “logistical support headquarters next to the Police College building on Palestine Street", damaging property.

Videos on social media showed smoke billowing from the Green Zone, where the US embassy is based.

There were several strong explosions followed by aircraft circling near the Green Zone, the high-security enclave that contains the US mission, AFP reported.

It was the 19th attack since October on the embassy or the about 5,200 US troops stationed alongside local forces across Iraq.

The attacks are never claimed but the US has pointed the finger at Iran-backed groups within the Hashed Al Shaabi, a military network officially incorporated into Iraq’s state security forces.

In late December, a rocket attack on the northern Iraqi base of K1 killed a US contractor.

Washington responded with retaliatory strikes against a hard-line Hashed faction in western Iraq.

Days later, an American drone strike in Baghdad killed top Iranian general Qassem Suleimani and his right-hand man, Hashed deputy chief Abu Mahdi Al Muhandis.

Hashed factions have vowed revenge for the pair’s death, insisting US troops should leave Iraq immediately.

Sunday’s attack came only hours after one of the Hashed’s Iran-backed factions, Harakat Al Nujaba, announced a “countdown” to removing American forces from the country.

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Updated: February 17, 2020 12:38 AM

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