Iraqi counter-terrorism forces stood guard early last year outside the U.S. embassy in Baghdad, which has been the target of rocket attacks Photo: AFP/File
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Rockets target U.S. embassy in Iraqi capital

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A volley of rockets on Monday targeted the high-security zone in the Iraqi capital that is home to the U.S. embassy, the military and security sources said.

The attack is the third in a week to target Western diplomatic, military or commercial installations across Iraq after months of relative calm.

At least two rockets landed within the perimeter of the Green Zone, where the American and other foreign embassies are based, according to a statement by Iraq's security services.

A security source within the Green Zone said the C-RAM anti-rocket defence system deployed at the U.S. embassy had not fired because the rockets were not projected to land within the diplomatic compound.

A security source told AFP at least one rocket hit the headquarters of Iraq's National Security Service near the U.S. diplomatic mission, damaging several cars parked there.

A U.S.-led coalition deployed in Iraq since 2014 to help local forces fight jihadists also operates a base near the American embassy.

"The coalition reports no damages or injuries," coalition spokesman Wayne Marotto said on Twitter.

At least one other rocket crashed into the nearby residential district of Harithiya, the military said.

A resident of the area told AFP the rocket damaged a multi-story parking complex just a few metres from his home.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack, but the military said it had located the launchpad in a northern district of Baghdad.

The attack comes a week after more than a dozen rockets targeted a military complex at the Arbil airport in northern Iraq where U.S.-led coalition troops are based.

Two people were killed, including one foreign contractor based at the airport, who died immediately, and a civilian, who succumbed to his wounds on Monday.

On Saturday, another wave of rockets hit the Al-Balad airbase north of Baghdad, where Iraq keeps most of the F-16s it has purchased from the U.S. in recent years.

Security sources said at least one local contractor for Sallyport, the U.S. company that maintains the planes, was wounded.

The attacks are usually claimed by shadowy groups that both Iraqi and U.S. officials say are "smokescreens" for hardline pro-Iran factions inside Iraq.

Washington said Monday it would hold Iran to account after the latest attack, but insisted it would not be drawn into an escalation.

State Department spokesman Ned Price said the United States was "outraged" by recent attacks in Iraq, adding it would "hold Iran responsible for the actions of its proxies that attack Americans".

"What we will not do is lash out and risk an escalation that plays into the hands of Iran and contributes to their attempts to further destabilize Iraq," Price told reporters.

Iraq's Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhemi has pledged to put a halt to rocket attacks but struggled to hold the groups to account, infuriating the U.S.

In October, the U.S. threatened to close its embassy in Baghdad if the attacks did not stop, so hardline groups agreed to an indefinite truce.

There have been several intermittent violations since, but the past week has seen the most attacks in months.

© 2021 AFP

©2021 GPlusMedia Inc.

8 Comments

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Interesting timing

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

US military out of Iraq and MENA. Use American resources to address the huge number of problems the country is facing. Find ways to use the talents of scientists, engineers and technicians working for big defense industries to solve the country's problems. Leave sovereign states alone. And stop burning so much oil and gas, instead find ways to reduce the demand for oil and gas. Control over oil, gas and their shipment have caused far too many wars from which the globe's 1% have been the prime beneficiaries and those at the lower ends of the economic spectrum victims.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

For every rocket attack launched inside Iraq, stop $50M in aid to Iraq and directly give 50% to Israel as defensive military devices. Be vocal about this.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

And stop burning so much oil and gas, instead find ways to reduce the demand for oil and gas.

And you think the US is going to just get rid of 250 million cars? So how do we go to work?

Control over oil, gas and their shipment have caused far too many wars from which the globe's 1%

All the more reason for the US to maintain its energy dependence and NOT rely on Mideast oil, but the Dems don’t want that, so we’re right back where we started, being dependent on the Mideast.

-5 ( +0 / -5 )

And stop burning so much oil and gas, instead find ways to reduce the demand for oil and gas. 

And you think the US is going to just get rid of 250 million cars? So how do we go to work?

Sigh. No need to run to extremes here. Progress in steps, Bass, progress in steps.

Look at where progress has taken us. Even the the US rightwing can see it. We’ve gone from drilling holes in people’s heads to treat epilepsy to space lasers starting fires and bleach killing viruses if injected into the bloodstream.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Shell Oil already announced it's looking to move away from fossil fuel and into renewables. Major car manufacturers don't see fossil fuels has part of the future.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

US built a highly fortified huge base housing its embassy in the Green Zone of Baghdad. Lately, there have been several attacks on the base, could this signal in a new round of conflict and instability in Iraq?

Better not..

0 ( +0 / -0 )

For every rocket attack launched inside Iraq, stop $50M in aid to Iraq and directly give 50% to Israel as defensive military devices. Be vocal about this.

We destroyed Iraq in an illegal invasion and you want to cut off aid to it and instead give that aid to one of the most oppressive countries in the world? Sounds as if you prefer to throw fuel on the fire instead of sand.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

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