Three rockets hit American Embassy in Iraq |Details awaited

Rocket attack on US Embassy

The Hush Post| 9:34 am|one-minute-read|

Three rockets hit the US embassy in Baghdad on Sunday, a senior Iraqi official told AFP. One of the rockets hit an embassy cafeteria at the time of dinner. Two other rickets landed nearby.

The US embassy did not comment about the attack. It is also not clear whether the injured person was an American or an Iraqi national.

The attack marks a dangerous escalation in the spree of rocket attacks in recent months. The attacks are essentially targeted at the embassy or Iraqi military bases where American troops are deployed.

None of the attacks has been claimed. However, Washington has time and again blamed Iran-backed military factions in Iraq.

The attack took place earlier in the day than usual, with AFP reporters hearing the booms on the western bank of the river Tigris at precisely 7:30 pm (1630 GMT).

Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdel Mahdi and Speaker of Parliament Mohammed Halbusi both condemned the incident.

Iraq has already been dragged into a worrying tit-for-tat between the United States and Iran over the last month.

A similar attack on a northern Iraqi base killed an American contractor. The US retaliated with a strike on an Iran-backed faction known as Kataeb Hezbollah.

Less than a week later, a US drone strike killed Iranian general Qasem Soleimani and Iraqi military figure Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis outside the Baghdad airport. This prompted Iran to fire ballistic missiles at an Iraqi base where US troops are stationed.

About 5,000 US tropps are stationed in Iraq but there is a demand to move them out from within Iraq

Some 5,200 Americans are stationed in Iraq to lead the global coalition fighting the Islamic State group. However, the US strike on Baghdad has rallied top Iraqi figures around a joint call to order them out.

Vehemently anti-American cleric Moqtada Sadr organised a mass rally in Baghdad on Friday. Thousands of his supporters called for American troops to leave.

Sadr had previously backed separate anti-regime protests sweeping Iraq’s capital and south, even though he controls the largest bloc in parliament and top ministerial posts.

Bolstered by his own protest on Friday, Sadr announced he was dropping support for the youth-dominated reform campaign rocking the country since October.

His followers, widely regarded as the best-organised and well-stocked of the anti-government demonstrators, immediately began dismantling their tents and heading home.

Activists feared that without his political cover, authorities would move to crush their movement. And indeed, within hours, riot police tried to storm protest camps across the capital and south.

Those efforts continued into Sunday, with security forces using live rounds and tear gas to try to flush protesters out of squares and streets they had occupied for months.

 

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