KRG PM says diplomatic missions take ‘enormous risk’ to be in Iraq

KRG Prime Minister Masrour Barzani speaks to reporters in Erbil, February 10, 2021. (PM office)

SULAIMANI (ESTA) — Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) Prime Minister Masrour Barzani said on Tuesday that diplomatic missions take “enormous risk” to be in Iraq, as rocket attacks continue against them in the country.

Three rockets hit Baghdad’s heavily fortified Green Zone on Monday night, according to the Iraqi military. The attack caused no casualties, but damaged four vehicles belonging to civilians.

The Green Zone hosts foreign embassies and government buildings and is regularly the target of rockets fired by groups that U.S. and Iraqi officials say are backed by Iran.

Barzani condemned the rocket attack on the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad on Monday night, calling for a halt of the attack.

“Diplomatic missions take enormous risk to be in Iraq. They are here to help confront terrorism and rebuild Iraq,” Barzani said in a tweet.

“I urge the federal govt to take practical measures to ensure their safety. The attacks must stop,” he added.

Most attacks cause no casualties but the latest incident is the third rocket attack in Iraq in just over a week to target areas hosting U.S. troops, diplomats or contractors, including one that killed at least one non-American civilian working with the U.S.-led coalition.

Spokesman of the U.S. State Department Ned Price said on Monday that Washington was outraged by rocket attacks on Coalition forces and others in Iraq but stressed it would not “lash out”.

“We have seen the reports of the rocket fire today … as you heard us say in the aftermath of the tragic attack in Erbil, we are outraged by the recent attacks,” Price told reporters.

Pentagon Spokesman John Kirby acknowledged an “uptick” in violence in Iraq against bases housing U.S. personnel.

“It’s difficult to say any certainty whether there’s a strategic calculation driving this uptick – this recent uptick in attacks or whether this is just a continuation of the sorts of attacks we’ve seen in the past,” Kirby said in a press conference on Monday.

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