An Iraqi security guard near the US embassy in the Green Zone
An Iraqi security guard near the U.S. embassy in the Green Zone
Photo: AFP
An Iraqi security guard near the U.S. embassy in the Green Zone

Rocket barrage targets U.S. Embassy in Iraq

Iraqi officials say Green Zone's C-RAM air defense system downed the projectiles midair; incident comes ahead of anniversary of targeted killing of Iranian general Soleimani in Baghdad

Associated Press |
Published: 12.20.20 , 21:28
A barrage of rockets targeted the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad's heavily fortified Green Zone on Sunday, Iraq's military and Iraqi officials said, sparking fears of renewed unrest as next month's anniversary of the U.S. slaying of an Iranian general draws near.
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  • An Iraqi military statement said an outlawed group had launched numerous rockets targeting the Green Zone, causing material damage to a residential complex and some cars. The statement did not provide further details on whether there were also casualties.
    An Iraqi security guard near the US embassy in the Green Zone An Iraqi security guard near the US embassy in the Green Zone
    An Iraqi security guard near the U.S. embassy in the Green Zone
    (Photo: AFP)
    There were at least eight rockets fired, according to three Iraqi security officials. They said the U.S. Embassy's C-RAM defense system, which is used to destroy missiles in mid-air, was activated. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity in line with regulations.
    The U.S. Embassy condemned the attack and urged all Iraqi political and governmental leaders to take steps to prevent such attacks and to hold accountable those responsible.
    "The U.S. 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.
    A spokesman for Iraqi President Barham Salih also condemned the attack.
    The C-RAM system was installed by the U.S. over the summer as armed groups stepped up rocket attacks targeting the embassy and its premises.
    Aftermath of U.S. strike that killed Qassem SoleimaniAftermath of U.S. strike that killed Qassem Soleimani
    Aftermath of U.S. strike that killed Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani
    (Photo: Courtesy)
    The U.S. withdrew some staff from its embassy in Baghdad earlier this month, temporarily reducing personnel ahead of the first anniversary of the U.S. airstrike that killed Iran's top general, Qassim Soleimani, outside Baghdad's airport on Jan. 3. American officials said the reduction stemmed from concerns about a possible retaliatory strike.
    Soleimani's killing sparked outrage and led Iraq's parliament to pass a non-binding resolution days later calling for the expulsion of all foreign troops from Iraq.
    The frequency of rocket attacks in Iraq has frustrated the Trump administration. Iran-backed militia groups have been blamed for orchestrating the attacks.
    Shiite Muslims demonstrate over the U.S. airstrike that killed Iranian Revolutionary Guard Gen. Qassem Soleimani Shiite Muslims demonstrate over the U.S. airstrike that killed Iranian Revolutionary Guard Gen. Qassem Soleimani
    Iraqi Shi'ite Muslims demonstrate over the U.S. airstrike that killed Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani
    (Photo: AP)
    In September, Washington warned Iraq that it will close its embassy in Baghdad if the government fails to take decisive action to end rocket and other attacks by Iranian-backed militias on American and allied interests in the country.
    The partial withdrawal from the embassy came amid a drawdown of American troops from Iraq and Afghanistan announced by the outgoing Trump administration last month. In Iraq, the U.S. plans to reduce the number of troops from 3,000 to 2,500 by mid-January, before Trump is to leave office.

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