Several rockets landed near the embassy of the United States in Iraq’s capital early on Sunday, US and Iraqi military officials said, in the latest of a series of attacks against US assets in the country.
The rockets struck an Iraqi base hosting US troops and other coalition forces in Baghdad’s heavily fortified Green Zone, an area that is home to foreign embassies and government offices.
It was the 19th attack since October to target either the embassy or the roughly 5,200 US troops stationed alongside local forces across Iraq. The attacks are never claimed but the US has pointed the finger at Iran-backed groups within the Hashed al-Shaabi, a military network officially incorporated into Iraq’s state security forces.
In late December, a rocket attack on the northern Iraqi base of K1 left one US contractor dead and unleashed a dramatic series of events. Washington responded with retaliatory strikes against a hardline Hashed faction in western Iraq, and days later an American drone strike in Baghdad killed the top Iranian general Qassem Suleimani and his right-hand man, Hashed, deputy chief Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis.
Hashed factions have vowed revenge for the pair’s death, insisting US troops should immediately leave Iraq.
Sunday’s attack came just hours after one of the Hashed’s Iran-backed factions, Harakat al-Nujaba, announced a “countdown” to ousting American forces from the country. He tweeted a photograph of what he claimed was an American military vehicle, adding: “We are closer than you think.”