Rocket attack targets U.S. embassy in Baghdad’s Green Zone

A general view of the U.S. Embassy at the Green zone in Baghdad, Iraq January 7, 2020. (Reuters)

SULAIMANI (ESTA) — Three rockets were fired at heavily fortified Green Zone in Baghdad early on Thursday, the Iraqi military said.

In a statement, Iraqi security media cell said outlaw groups targeted Green Zone with three Katyusha rockets at 02:00 a.m. on Thursday.

One of the rockets fell near headquarters of the National Security Agency, it added. The second rocket fell near a square and the third one landed near Sheikh Omar area.

The third rocket damaged a civilian’s vehicle parked in a neighborhood in the Sheikh Omar area.

The Green Zone hosts U.S. and other 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.

Reuters cited security source as saying that the U.S. embassy’s anti-rocket system diverted one of the rockets.

Another rocket fell near the Green Zone’s perimeter, Reuters reported.

Sirens blared from the embassy compound inside the zone, the sources said.

U.S. diplomats and troops in Iraq and Syria were targeted in three rocket and drone attacks in the past 24 hours, including at least 14 rockets hitting Iraq’s Ain al-Asad air base hosting U.S. forces.

The rocket attack on the Iraqi base wounded two American service members, according to U.S. officials.

One suffered a concussion and the other had minor cuts, a U.S. official told Reuters.

Iraqi army officials said the pace of recent attacks against bases hosting U.S. forces with rockets and explosive-laden drones was unprecedented.

In Syria, the U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces said no damage was done by a drone attack on the Al Omar oilfield in an eastern area bordering Iraq where U.S. forces came under rocket fire but escaped injury on June 28.

The Pentagon said a drone had been brought down in eastern Syria and that no U.S. service members had been injured and there had not been any damage.

While there were no immediate claims of responsibility for the attacks – part of a wave targeting U.S. troops or areas where they are based in Iraq and Syria – analysts believed they were part of a campaign by Iranian-backed militias.

Iraqi militia groups aligned with Iran vowed to retaliate after U.S. strikes on the Iraqi-Syrian border killed four of their members last month.

The United States told the U.N. Security Council last week that it targeted Iranian-backed militia in Syria and Iraq with air strikes to deter them and Tehran from conducting or supporting further attacks on U.S. personnel or facilities.

Iran denied supporting attacks on U.S. forces in Iraq and Syria and condemned U.S. air strikes on Iranian-backed groups.

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