There’s been a rare attack on the US Embassy in Baghdad at a moment the Gaza War has continued escalating in the southern half of the Strip.
A Pentagon official Friday that about seven mortar rounds landed in the sprawling embassy compound in the Iraqi capital’s Green Zone during the early morning hours, resulting in minor damage but no injuries. Other sources say there were multiple rockets launched near the gate.
“The reported attack is the first time the embassy has been targeted in more than a year,” Reuters notes. “It comes as bases housing US personnel have been targeted in Iraq and Syria dozens of times since the war in Gaza began.”
While no claim of responsibility was immediately forthcoming, prior sporadic attacks on the US Embassy in recent years were blamed on Iran-backed militant groups. These same groups are believed to be connected with ongoing attacks on American outposts throughout the region, and in Syria.
An Iraqi security official said 14 Katyusha rockets were fired Friday, of which some struck near one of the U.S. Embassy’s gates while others fell in the river. The official said the rocket attack caused material damage but no casualties.
A US official said in the aftermath, “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 statement added: “We reiterate that we reserve the right to self-defense and to protect our personnel anywhere in the world.”
Likely the US Embassy’s powerful C-RAM systems, which protects aerial threats against the Green Zone, were on alert or activated during the attack.
🚨| 🇮🇶🇺🇸 US Embassy in Baghdad, Iraq, has been targeted by a barrage of rockets. pic.twitter.com/b5TMuEMtN7— Arya – آریا 🇮🇷 (@AryJeay) December 8, 2023
Prior attacks on the embassy stretching back to 2020 and beyond were seen as pro-Iranian militants’ attempts to pressure American and NATO troops out of the country. There are still thousands of Western personnel that remain throughout the country, with the biggest presence being in the north – in the Iraqi Kurdistan region’s Erbil.
During the recent weeklong Israel-Hamas truce which saw hostages and prisoners exchanged, attacks on US personnel in Syria and Iraq temporarily ceased; however, with fighting raging once again in Gaza, and the death toll among Palestinians soaring, this fresh rocket attack on the embassy is a sign things are about to deteriorate further in the region.