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US Embassy in Baghdad hit with rocket attack over the weekend

The new Embassy of the United States in Baghdad, Iraq. (United States Department of State/WikiCommons)
January 27, 2020

Three rockets were fired at the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad on Sunday, causing at least one injury.

An unnamed U.S. official confirmed the news of the rocket attack to CNN. They reported the injury was minor and the person in question had already returned to duty.

There have been numerous rocket attacks in recent months within the fortified Green Zone where the U.S. Embassy and embassies of other countries are located.

Rep. Michael McCaul, the ranking Republican on the House Foreign Affairs Committee tweeted that he is closely monitoring the situation.

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The U.S. Embassy was previously attacked around the start of the new year by pro-Iranian demonstrators who set fires around the compound. It is not yet clear who is responsible for this latest attack.

U.S. positions throughout the country have been on alert following the earlier embassy attack and a series of escalatory moves between the U.S. and Iran. Tensions increased significantly following a U.S. drone strike that killed Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani while he was in Baghdad. In retaliation, Iran fired a series of 15 missiles at bases housing U.S. troops in the country.

Following early reports of no injuries or deaths from Iran’s missile attacks, President Donald Trump signaled that Iran appeared to be standing down and no U.S. retaliatory strikes were carried out in response.

When asked about Sunday’s latest rocket attacks by CNN reporters, the U.S. State Department did not expressly blame the Iranian government, but a State Department spokesperson did refer to ongoing concerns of Iranian threats in the area and past Iranian attacks.

“The security situation remains tense and Iranian-backed armed groups remain a threat. So, we remain vigilant,” that spokesperson told CNN.

According to the State Department, there have been 14 attacks by Iran or Iranian-backed groups, against U.S. personnel in Iraq since September.

Adil Abdul Mahdi, the acting prime minister of Iraq, condemned the attack and vowed to send Iraqi forces to “deploy, search, and investigate to prevent the recurrence of such attacks, and to arrest those who launched these rockets so that they can be punished.”

Mahdi also said the Iraqi government is “committed to protecting all diplomatic missions and taking all necessary measures to achieve this.”

The U.S. has also deployed additional forces to Iraq following recent attacks at the embassy in Baghdad.

The Green Zone was first established by U.S. and coalition forces after the invasion of Iraq in 2003. The zone is fortified and heavily guarded and generally seen as a safe area even in spite of being the frequent target of attacks.