The attack in a heavily fortified area that houses foreign embassies comes shortly after the US announced plans to cut Iraqi troops from 3,000 to 2,500.
According to the Iraqi military, four missiles hit foreign embassies, including that of the United States, in a heavily fortified area in Baghdad, signaling an apparent end to a temporary halt in attacks by Iranian-backed militias against Washington’s presence in the country.
Tuesday’s attack came less than an hour after the US announced plans to cut its troop strength in Iraq from 3,000 to 2,500.
In a statement, the Iraqi military said the missiles that landed in the Green Zone – the seat of the Iraqi government and home to diplomatic missions – were fired from a neighborhood in al-Alf Dar district in New Baghdad.
No victims were mentioned in the statement.
Iraqi officials told The Associated Press, on condition of anonymity in accordance with regulations, that at least two Iraqi security forces were injured in the attack. The extent of their injuries was not immediately known.
Reports spoke of several large explosions, followed by rapid-fire sounds and red flares illuminating the sky, suggesting that the U.S. embassy’s C-RAM missile defense system was in use.
Just heard what sounded like a missile heading for the Green Zone. It sounded like CRAM was being deployed.
– Simona Foltyn (@ SimonaFoltyn) November 17, 2020
Frequent attacks on the US embassy have led Washington to threaten to shut down its diplomatic mission in Baghdad and sparked a diplomatic crisis ahead of the US elections earlier this month.
In mid-October, Iran-backed militia groups announced that they would temporarily suspend attacks on the American presence in Iraq, including the embassy, on condition that US-led coalition forces withdraw from the country.
The US led an international coalition that invaded Iraq in 2003 and overthrew former leader Saddam Hussein. As part of a US-led coalition that has been helping the country in the fight against ISIL (ISIS) since 2014, around 3,000 soldiers are still stationed across Iraq.
Since October 2019, dozens of rocket strikes and roadside bombs have attacked troops, foreign embassies and other facilities across Iraq.
In response, the US bombed Kataib Hezbollah and other Iranian factions, blaming them for the series of attacks.