WASHINGTON/BAGHDAD, Dec 8 (Reuters) – About seven mortar shells hit the U.S. embassy compound in Baghdad early on Friday, a U.S. military official told Reuters. Recent memory.
It marked the first time a US embassy had been shot at in more than a year. It has expanded its range of targets since mid-October amid fears the conflict could escalate after dozens of attacks on US forces in Iraq and Syria on military bases. region.
No group has claimed responsibility, but previous attacks against US forces have been carried out by Iran-aligned militias, which target US interests in Syria and Iraq and have Washington’s support for Israel in its Gaza war.
A US military official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said more missiles may have been fired at the embassy compound but did not land.
The official added that the attack caused very minor damage but no injuries.
An explosion was heard around 4 a.m. (0100 GMT) on Friday near the embassy in the center of the capital. Sirens were activated calling people to take cover.
State media reported that the headquarters of the Iraqi security forces were damaged in the attack.
The US military official added that the Ain al-Assad airbase, which hosts US and other international forces in western Iraq, was also targeted but the missiles did not land at the base.
Sheikh Ali Damosh, a senior official of the Lebanese group Hezbollah, said in a sermon on Friday that attacks by Iran-aligned groups across the Middle East are aimed at pressuring Israel to end its offensive in the Gaza Strip. He did not specifically mention Friday’s attack.
Dozens of attacks against US forces in Iraq and Syria have been claimed by a group of Iran-aligned Shia Muslim militias operating under the banner of Islamic Resistance in Iraq.
The US has responded with a series of strikes that have killed at least 15 militants in Iraq and up to seven in Syria.
‘acts of terrorism’
The attacks are a challenge for Iraqi Prime Minister Mohammad Shia al-Sudani, who has vowed to protect foreign missions and capitalize on fragile stability to focus on the economy and foreign investment, including in the United States.
Sudani ordered security agencies to pursue the perpetrators, describing them as “unruly, lawless groups that in no way represent the will of the Iraqi people”.
He added that acts of terrorism undermine Iraq’s stability, reputation and target places Iraq has pledged to protect.
A US embassy spokesman called on the Iraqi government to do all it could to protect diplomatic and coalition personnel and facilities.
“We reiterate that we have the right to defend ourselves and protect our personnel anywhere in the world,” he said.
In addition to its diplomatic staff in Iraq, the U.S. says it has about 2,500 troops in the country aimed at advising and assisting local forces trying to stem the resurgence of Islamic State, which seized large swaths of both countries in 2014. Defeated.
The Iran-aligned Houthis have been firing on Israel and ships in the Red Sea in a campaign aimed at supporting the Palestinians. US warships shot down several missiles.
Reporting by Phil Stewart, Idrees Ali and Timour Azhari; Editing by Gerry Doyle, Angus MacSwan and Margaret Choi
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Bill Stewart has reported from more than 60 countries, including Afghanistan, Ukraine, Syria, Iraq, Pakistan, Russia, Saudi Arabia, China and South Sudan. An award-winning Washington-based national security correspondent, Bill has appeared on NPR, PBS NewsHour, Fox News and other programs and moderated national security events, including the Reagan National Security Forum and the German Marshall Fund. He is the Edwin M. for Diplomatic Correspondence. Hood Award and Joe Galloway Award recipient.
Focused on the Pentagon in Washington DC, the national security correspondent reports on US military operations and operations around the world and the impact they have. It reported from more than two dozen countries covering Iraq, Afghanistan and much of the Middle East, Asia and Europe. From Karachi, Pakistan.