The US Embassy is seen from across the Tigris River in Baghdad, Iraq. File/AP
Glf Today Report
At least eight Katyusha rockets targeted the US Embassy in Baghdad late on Sunday. The Iraqi military and embassy said there was some minor damage on the compound after rockets landed in the Green Zone, sparking fears of renewed unrest as next month's anniversary of the US slaying of an Iranian general draws near.
Iraq's military and Iraqi officials said, sparking fears of renewed unrest as next month's anniversary of the US slaying of an Iranian general draws near.
Sirens blared from the embassy compound inside the zone, which houses government buildings and foreign missions.
An Iraqi military statement said an "an outlawed group” launched eight rockets targeting the Green Zone, injuring one Iraqi security person manning a checkpoint and causing material damage to a residential complex and some cars. The residential complex is usually empty.
“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.
In a subsequent statement, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said there had been at least one Iraqi civilian casualty and wished those hurt a speedy recovery.
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.
Pompeo called such militias the most serious impediment to peace and prosperity in Iraq, and added:
“We call on all Iraqis to support their government’s efforts to reinforce Iraq’s sovereignty, to bring to justice those responsible for these reprehensible attacks and ensure that all the currently Iran-backed militias are under state control.”
A spokesman for the Iraqi president also condemned the attack.
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 Nov. 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.
“Now we hear chatter of additional attacks against Americans in Iraq,” he added, before offering “some friendly health advice to Iran: if one American is killed, I will hold Iran responsible. Think it over,” he said.
About 13 rockets were launched from a location about 8 km from the base, which is in western Anbar province, a Baghdad Operations Command official told Reuters.
The rocket attack took place late on Friday night, Xinhua news agency quoted the media office of the Iraqi Joint Operations Command as saying in a statement. The Katyusha rockets landed outside the airport, the statement added.
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