Friday, February 26, 2021

Iraq | US embassy in Baghdad targeted by rockets


(Baghdad) Rockets were fired at the United States embassy in Baghdad on Monday, but fell nearby, security sources said, the third attack on Western interests in Iraq in a week.



France Media Agency

At least two rockets fell in the Green Zone, which houses state institutions and diplomatic representations, according to a statement from the Iraqi security services.

And at least one rocket hit the Iraqi National Security headquarters, located near the US diplomatic mission, damaging several cars, a security source told AFP.

The US-led international coalition, which is helping Iraq fight the jihadist Islamic State (IS) group, is deployed to a base near the US embassy. “There were no casualties or damage” on the base, said a spokesperson for the coalition, Wayne Marotto, on Twitter.

Other rockets crashed in residential areas around the Green Zone, an ultra-secure neighborhood. A parking lot was damaged, a witness told AFP.

The rocket fire was not immediately claimed, but the Iraqi army said it had located the site of their launch in an area in northern Baghdad.

Attacks against Western interests, and particularly American interests, have been taking place regularly since late 2019 in Iraq. US and Iraqi officials accuse pro-Iran groups of being responsible.

Hours after the shooting, the State Department said the United States would hold “Iran accountable for the actions of its associates who attack Americans” in Iraq.

The Islamic Republic of Iran and the United States, sworn enemies, are active powers in Iraq.

“Not tolerated”

On Saturday, rockets targeted Balad air base north of Baghdad, where Iraqi forces are stocking F-16 planes, injuring at least one Iraqi employee of a US company in charge of aircraft maintenance, sources say. of security.

On February 15, a rocket salute struck a military base hosting foreign troops in the airport of Erbil, the capital of the Kurdistan Autonomous Region in northern Iraq. A foreign civilian contractor working with the anti-jihadist coalition was killed and nine people were injured.

Other rockets hit the entire northwest of the town of Erbil the same day, including residential areas, where they injured five civilians, one of whom died on Monday.

It was the first such attack in nearly two months against Western military or diplomatic facilities in Iraq, following dozens of similar attacks last year attributed to pro-Iran Shiite groups.

The Erbil attack was claimed by a little-known group calling themselves Awliyaa al-Dam “(The Guardians of Blood”) who said in an online statement that they would continue to target US forces in Iraq.

Several Western countries condemned the rocket fire, warning that attacks on the coalition would “not be tolerated”. The UN has warned that Iraq could slide back into instability.

In October, the United States threatened to close its embassy if the attacks did not end and pro-Iran factions agreed to a truce.

But the attacks have increased in recent weeks.

In addition, a young demonstrator was killed Monday during rallies in Nassiriya (south), a stronghold of the anti-power protest, to protest against failing public services. A curfew has been declared in major cities in Zi Qar province to prevent further protests.

At the end of 2019, the anger of the population against corruption and endemic unemployment had led to an unprecedented popular uprising, marked by violence that left 600 dead and 30,000 injured.





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