Rocket hits near US embassy compound in Baghdad
A rocket landed near the US embassy in Baghdad’s Green Zone in the early hours of Tuesday, according to Iraq’s Security Media Cell.
This is the first rocket attack to hit Baghdad under the rule of new Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi.
“A Katyusha rocket landed on an empty house inside the Green Zone in Baghdad. As per information [we have obtained], this missile was launched from Al-Idrisi neighborhood, on Palestine Street, resulting in minor damage to the wall of the house,” read a statement from the cell.
The blast could be heard across the Iraqi capital and triggered security sirens at the US embassy compound but did not result in casualties, security sources told AFP.
The Green Zone hosts several Iraqi government ministries, the federal parliament, and foreign diplomatic missions.
Such attacks have not been reported in the Green Zone for two months.
While no one has taken responsibility for the latest attack,the Iranian-backed Popular Mobilization Forces, (PMF or Hashd al-Shaabi), have been accused of similar attacks in the capital city.
Tensions between Baghdad and Washington have run high since late last year, with pro-Iran militia supporters storming the US embassy compound in Baghdad in late December.
The US assassination of Iranian general Qasem Soleimani and PMF deputy Abu al-Muhandis in Baghdad on January 3 sent tensions soaring, prompting a flurry of rocket attacks targeting the embassy and Iraqi army bases hosting US-led coalition troops, attributed to pro-Iran militias in Iraq. A non-binding resolution followed to expel foreign troops from the country.
Earlier this week Iran Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said that the US will be “expelled” from both Syria and Iraq.
The attack is also amid a new wave of offensives by Islamic State (ISIS) militants in areas disputed by Baghdad and Erbil.
ISIS remnants have also come close to the capital city.
Kurdish leaders have recently warned that the terror group is planning to strike Baghdad.
It’s a real threat,” said Qubad Talabani, the Kurdistan Region’s deputy prime minister. “They are mobilizing and killing us in the north and they will start hitting Baghdad soon,” he said earlier in May. Source