AP NEWS

U.S. embassy in Iraq targeted in rocket attack

May 19, 2019

The U.S. embassy in Baghdad was the target of a rocket attack late Sunday, days after the Trump White House ordered American diplomatic personnel to pull out of the country.

Iraqi military officials confirmed Sunday a single Katyusha rocket landed near the parade grounds inside the heavily-fortified Green Zone in the Iraqi capital, which is home to the U.S. embassy as well as the main headquarters for the American-led coalition battling the Islamic State.

Iraqi officials confirmed a single rocket landed inside the sprawling diplomatic compound, landing a few hundred meters from the U.S. embassy, Reuters reports. But eyewitnesses claim a second rocket also landed inside the Green Zone, according to unconfirmed reports.

The Pentagon or State Department had yet to issue a statement on the rocket attack. No casualties were reported as a result of the attack and no group has claimed responsibility for the strikes, Reuters reports. The attack was the first strike against a U.S. embassy in Iraq since the American mission in Iraq’s southern port city of Basra last October.

Sunday’s rocket attacks come days after the Trump administration ordered the withdrawal of all non-essential personnel from U.S. outposts in Baghdad, after after U.S. intelligence had picked up communications related to the movement of rockets in Iraq by Iran-backed militias in the city.

But British Maj. Gen. Chris Ghika, the No. 2 officer with the U.S.-led anti-ISIS coalition told reporters at the Pentagon on Tuesday there has been “no increased threat” from Tehran’s proxies in Iraq or Syria. U.S. Central Command spokesman Capt. Bill Urban pushed back hard on Gen. Ghika’s assessment, saying his assessment runs “counter to the identified credible threats available to intelligence from U.S. and allies.”

Administration officials already ordered the U.S.S. Abraham Lincoln aircraft carrier strike group into the Persian Gulf earlier this month, in response to reportedly imminent threats to U.S. military personnel in the region by Iranian forces.

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