Rockets fired towards US embassy in Iraqi capital’s Green Zone

US troops and installations have come under regular attack due to Washington’s support of Israel’s bombardment of Gaza.

Iraqi security forces stand guard near Baghdad's high-security Green Zone
Iraqi security forces stand guard near Baghdad's high-security Green Zone neighbourhood, in which the US embassy is located [File: Sabah Arar/AFP]

Rockets have been fired at the United States embassy in Baghdad.

Explosions were heard early on Friday near the Iraqi capital’s heavily fortified Green Zone, which houses the institution. US soldiers and installations across the region have come under attack as Washington supports Israel’s bombardment of Gaza.

News agencies, quoting unnamed US and Iraqi military officials, reported that rockets landed on the outskirts of the district housing government and diplomatic buildings at dawn.

An Iraqi security official said 14 Katyusha rockets were fired and that while some struck near one of the embassy’s gates, others fell into the nearby Tigris river. The official said the rocket attack caused material damage but no casualties.

Sirens indicating to people to “duck and cover” were activated. According to social media videos verified by Al Jazeera’s verification unit, Sanad, rockets were seen landing near the US embassy.

In one video, sirens are heard during a series of explosions close to the building. Another shows an area of Baghdad’s diplomatic zone as explosions are heard in the background.

A US embassy statement confirmed that “two salvoes of rockets” were fired at the compound at 4:15 am (0115 GMT).

“Indications are the attacks were initiated by Iran-aligned militias,” a spokesperson said. “We again call on the government of Iraq … to do all in its power to protect diplomatic and coalition partner personnel and facilities.

“We reiterate that we reserve the right to self-defence and to protect our personnel anywhere in the world.”

In a statement, Iraqi Prime Minister Mohammed Shia al-Sudani called on security forces to pursue those behind the attack, labelling it an “act of terrorism” that undermines the country’s stability, internal security and political reputation.

Iraqi groups that support Palestinians have promised retaliation against Israel and its close ally the US for the deadly war in Gaza.

According to the Pentagon, since the Gaza war erupted on October 7, US forces deployed in Iraq and Syria have been attacked at least 66 times, causing injuries to more than 60 personnel. Until now, diplomatic missions had been spared.

The US has occasionally retaliated against these attacks and has accused Iran of “actively facilitating” rocket and drone attacks by Iranian-backed proxy groups on its forces.

In November, US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin asserted in a statement that Washington “does not seek conflict and has no intention nor desire to engage in further hostilities” but he added that “these Iranian-backed attacks against US forces are unacceptable and must stop.”

Iranian Minister of Foreign Affairs Hossein Amirabdollahian has said Tehran “neither gives orders to the resistance groups across the region nor stops them from taking decisions in their own countries based on their own interests”.

No group has claimed responsibility for Friday’s attack.


Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies