US embassy in Baghdad targeted with several rockets; no casualties reported

Attack likely carried out by Iran-backed militias in Iraq but no group immediately claimed responsibility

Web Desk
Friday, December 08, 2023
Iraqi security forces stand guard near Baghdad's high-security Green Zone neighbourhood, in which the US embassy is located. — AFP/File

The US embassy in Baghdad on Friday morning was attacked by two rocket salvos but there were no casualties reported, an embassy spokesperson said.

According to the spokesperson, the attack was likely carried out by Iran-backed militias in Iraq but no group immediately claimed responsibility.

The incident marks the first known rocket attack targeting the embassy since the beginning of strikes against US forces on military bases in neighbouring Syria and Iraq by a loose coalition of militias supported by Iran in mid-October, Reuters reported.

Operating under the banner of the Islamic Resistance in Iraq, the armed groups have connected more than 70 of these attacks to Washington's support for Israel in its deadly assault on Gaza.

"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 embassy spokesperson said.

At around 4am, explosions were heard close to the embassy in the middle of the capital city of Iraq.

Videos from the scene posted on social media showed that sirens alerting people to take shelter were sounded.

Following the attack, Iraqi Prime Minister Mohammed Shia al-Sudani directed security agencies to pursue the perpetrators, describing them as "unruly, lawless groups that do not in any way represent the will of the Iraqi people," a statement from his office said.

Additionally, he referred to undermining Iraq's stability, and reputation and targeting places Iraq has committed to protect as acts of terrorism.

Other than its diplomatic personnel, the US has some 2,500 troops in Iraq on a mission it claims is to support and counsel local forces attempting to thwart a revival of the Islamic State, which captured significant portions of both countries in 2014 before being defeated.

"We reiterate that we reserve the right to self-defence and to protect our personnel anywhere in the world," the spokesperson said.

The UN mission in Iraq condemned the attack. "Iraq cannot afford to be drawn into a wider conflict, which would threaten hard-won stability and the achievements made so far," it said in a social media post.