In a day marked by rocket and drone attacks against American bases in Iraq and Syria, three rockets were fired at the US embassy in Baghdad early Thursday (Jul 8). The embassy was not hit, but three places nearby in Baghdad’s heavily fortified Green Zone were. The recent spate of attacks on US military and diplomatic facilities in Iraq has been attributed to pro-Iranian armed groups within a state-sponsored paramilitary force.
As part of an international coalition fighting the Islamic State group in Iraq, US forces have been targeted almost 50 times this year, but the number of attacks has increased in recent days. The coalition reported that fourteen rockets were fired on Wednesday at an air base hosting American troops in the western province of Anbar, causing minor injuries to two personnel. Shiite militant group Revenge of al-Muhandis Brigade claims responsibility and vows to defeat the ‘brutal occupation’, reports SITE intelligence group, which monitors extremist groups.
The militant group is named after Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis of the Hashed al-Shaabi paramilitary alliance, who was killed in a US drone strike early last year along with revered Iranian general Qasem Soleimani, SITE said. The United States carried out air strikes against pro-Iran fighters in both Iraq and Syria late last month. On Wednesday, several rockets landed on both the base and perimeter of the Ain al-Assad base, according to coalition spokesman Wayne Marotto. Local homes and a mosque were also damaged. Security forces in Iraq said the rocket launcher was hidden inside a truck carrying flour bags. Earlier this week, similar attacks occurred.
According to Iraqi security officials, US forces shot down an armed drone above the embassy on Monday night. AFP reporters report that US defence systems fired rockets into the air in Baghdad, taking out an explosive-laden drone, according to Iraqi security sources. Just hours earlier, rockets had also been fired at Ain al-Assad. State Department spokesman Ned Price told reporters about the renewed violence: ‘These attacks reflect and illustrate the fundamental threat that Iran-backed militias pose to Iraq’s sovereignty and stability’.