Rocket Attack Hits US Embassy in Iraq 12/08 06:13
BAGHDAD (AP) -- A rocket attack on the sprawling U.S. Embassy in Baghdad
caused minor damage but no casualties Friday morning, U.S. and Iraqi officials
The attack is the first on the embassy located in the heavily fortified
Green Zone of Iraq's capital to be confirmed since the beginning of the
Israel-Hamas war. The Green Zone houses Iraqi government buildings and
embassies on the west bank of the Tigris River.
Iran-backed militias in Iraq have claimed responsibility for dozens of
attacks that targeted bases housing U.S. troops in Iraq and Syria since Israel
declared war on Hamas two months ago. The U.S. military says 78 attacks have
been carried out against U.S. facilities over the past weeks, of which 37 were
in Iraq and 41 in Syria.
An Iraqi security official said 14 Katyusha rockets were fired Friday, of
which some struck near one of the U.S. Embassy's gates while others fell in the
river. The official said the rocket attack caused material damage but no
A U.S. military official said a multi-rocket attack was launched at American
and coalition forces in the vicinity of the embassy complex and the Union III
base, which houses offices of the U.S.-led coalition. The official added that
no casualties and no damage to infrastructure were reported.
An embassy spokesperson said the U.S. Embassy was attacked by two salvos of
rockets at approximately 4:15 a.m. (0215 GMT).
"Assessments are ongoing, but there are no reported casualties on the
embassy compound," the official said, adding that no specific group had claimed
responsibility for firing the rockets as of Friday morning but early
indications pointed to Iran-aligned militias.
"We again call on the government of Iraq, as we have done on many occasions,
to do all in its power to protect diplomatic and Coalition partner personnel
and facilities," the official said. "We reiterate that we reserve the right to
self-defense and to protect our personnel anywhere in the world."
The three officials spoke on condition of anonymity in line with regulations.
Iraqi Prime Minister Mohammed Shia al-Sudani said in a statement that
"targeting diplomatic missions is something that cannot be justified." He
called the attack an "insult to Iraq, its stability and security," and promised
to "pursue the perpetratrors of the attack ...and bring them to justice."
Sudani came to power with the support of a coalition of Iran-backed parties.
But he also wants continued good relations with the U.S. and has backed the
ongoing presence of American troops in his country.
While no group claimed responsibility for the embassy attack, the Islamic
Resistance in Iraq, an umbrella group of Iran-backed militias, issued
statements claiming separate attacks Friday on the al-Asad airbase in western
Iraq, which is used by U.S. forces, and on a base located at the Conoco gas
field in eastern Syria.
There are roughly 2,500 U.S. troops in Iraq and around 900 others in eastern
Syria, on missions against the Islamic State group. In both countries, Iran has
militias loyal to Tehran.
In response to attacks against American troops, the U.S. has retaliated with
airstrikes three times in Syria since Oct. 17, targeting weapons depots and
other facilities linked directly to Iran's Revolutionary Guard Corps and the
militias. The U.S. also struck multiple sites in Iraq late last month after a
militia group for the first time fired short-range ballistic missiles at U.S.
forces at al Asad air base.