Rockets fired at US Embassy land inside Baghdad's Green Zone, damaging compound

A general view of the US embassy across the Tigris river in Iraq's capital Baghdad. A volley of rockets exploded near the US embassy in Baghdad on December 20, 2020 — AFP pic
A general view of the US embassy across the Tigris river in Iraq's capital Baghdad. A volley of rockets exploded near the US embassy in Baghdad on December 20, 2020 — AFP pic

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BAGHDAD, Dec 21 — At least eight Katyusha rockets landed in Baghdad's heavily fortified Green Zone in an attack targeting the US Embassy, causing some minor damage on the compound on Sunday, the Iraqi military and the embassy said yesterday.

The Iraqi military said an “outlaw group” fired 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.

A spokesman for the Iraqi president also condemned the attack.

US officials blame Iran-backed militia for regular rocket attacks on US facilities in Iraq, including near the embassy in Baghdad. No known Iran-backed groups have claimed responsibility.

An array of militia groups announced in October that they had suspended rocket attacks on US forces on condition that Iraq's government present a timetable for the withdrawal of American troops.

But a rocket strike on the US Embassy on November 18 was a clear sign that Iranian-backed militias had decided to resume attacks on US 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. — Reuters

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