Wednesday November 18, 2020
Several missiles explode in Baghdad. The destination is the US embassy in the highly secured green zone of the Iraqi capital. But other parts of the city are also affected – and claiming victims. One girl is killed and others injured.
The Iraqi capital, Baghdad, was hit by several rocket attacks on Tuesday evening. Four rockets had been fired at the US embassy in the capital’s highly secured Green Zone, the Iraqi army said. Three more missiles hit other parts of Baghdad. A young girl was killed and five other civilians were injured.
Journalists from the AFP news agency reported several explosions and the sound of alarm sirens. Accordingly, red flares could be seen in the sky after the explosions – a sign that the missile defense system C-RAM of the US embassy had been used. A spokesman for the US-led anti-IS coalition in Iraq said Iraqi intelligence services had confirmed an attack on the US embassy. He did not want to comment on the use of the C-RAM system.
According to Iraqi security circles, this was the first attack on the US embassy in Baghdad since pro-Iranian groups in Iraq agreed a month ago to stop the attacks on the US site. Washington had previously threatened to close the embassy if the regular attacks did not stop.
Attack at the same time as Trump’s announcement
Since October last year, almost 90 deadly rocket and bomb attacks have been carried out on foreign embassies, troops and facilities in Iraq. The US has repeatedly blamed pro-Iranian militias such as the Shiite Hezbollah brigades for the attacks and has already carried out two retaliatory attacks on positions of the brigades.
Tuesday’s missile attack came just hours after US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo spoke to Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhemi. Almost at the same time as the attack, the US announced the reduction of its troops in Iraq and Afghanistan to 2,500 soldiers. The reduction is to take place by January 15 – five days later, the elected US President Joe Biden will take over the highest office of the state from his elected predecessor Donald Trump.
Around 3,000 US soldiers are currently stationed in Iraq as part of the international anti-IS coalition. The international IS coalition had already significantly reduced its troops in Iraq last year. The presence of US troops in Iraq is a thorn in the side of neighboring Iran in particular. Since the targeted killing of the Iranian top general Kassem Soleimani in Baghdad in January, Tehran has been calling for an end to the US army operations in the Gulf region.