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Three rockets hit US embassy in Baghdad, America holds Iran-backed militias responsible

A general view of the U.S. Embassy at the Green zone in Baghdad, Iraq January 7, 2020. REUTERS/Stringer NO RESALES. NO ARCHIVES

The United States embassy in Iraq’s capital Baghdad was hit by at least three rockets late on Sunday night, BBC reported.

According to Reuters, at least three people were injured in the attack in the fortified Green Zone. One rocket hit the embassy cafeteria while two others landed near it.

Though no group claimed responsibility for the attack, the US blamed Iran-backed militias. “We call on the Government of Iraq to fulfil its obligations to protect our diplomatic facilities,” CNN quoted the US State Department as saying. “The security situation remains tense and Iranian-backed armed groups remain a threat. So, we remain vigilant.”

Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi said such attacks could “drag Iraq into becoming a battlefield”.

Over the past month, Iraq has witnessed retaliatory attacks by Iran for the assassination of its military leader Qassem Soleimani by the United States in December. Last week too, three rockets fell near the US embassy. After a similar attack on a northern Iraqi base killed an American contractor, the US retaliated with a strike on an Iran-backed group known as Kataeb Hezbollah.

Iran had attacked two Iraqi airbases housing American soldiers on January 8. Since September, Iran and Iranian-supported militias have carried out more than 14 attacks on US personnel in Iraq, according to the State Department.

Iraqi forces shoot protestor dead

The latest attack came amid ongoing protests against the presence of American troops in Iraq. Iraqi cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, who is known for his anti-American views, organised a massive rally last Friday asking US soldiers to leave. Sadr, who had earlier backed widespread anti-regime protests, announced he was dropping support for anti-government reform movement.

Iraqi security forces shot at anti-government protesters in Baghdad on Sunday, killing at least one person, Reuters reported. Nearly 500 people have been killed since anti-government demonstrations erupted in Baghdad on October 1 last year.

At least 100 people were injured across the country when security forces tried to clear protest camps. At least 75 of those hurt were in the southern city of Nassariya. Meanwhile, protestors set fire to two security vehicles, and hundreds of other demonstrators occupied key bridges across the country.


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