US embassy in Baghdad attacked with 7 mortars; no casualties

Explosions were heard near the embassy, in the centre of the capital, at about 4am on Friday

By Reuters

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Photo: AP
Photo: AP

Published: Fri 8 Dec 2023, 11:45 PM

Approximately seven mortar rounds landed in the US Embassy compound in Baghdad during an attack early on Friday, a US military official told Reuters, in what appeared to be the largest attack of its kind in recent memory.

US forces in Iraq and Syria were also targeted with rockets and drones at least five more times on Friday; three times at separate bases in Syria, and twice at the Ain al-Asad airbase west of Baghdad, a US defence official said.

It was the most attacks recorded against US forces in the region in a single day since mid-October, when Iran-aligned militias started targeting US assets in Iraq and Syria over Washington's backing of Israel in its devastating war in Gaza.

The embassy attack marked the first time it had been fired on in more than a year, apparently widening the range of targets after dozens of attacks on military bases housing US forces amid fears of broadening conflict in the region.

No group claimed responsibility, but previous attacks against US forces have been carried out by Iran-aligned militias operating under the banner of the Islamic Resistance in Iraq.

The US military official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, left open the possibility that more projectiles were fired at the embassy compound but did not land within it.

The US officials said Friday's attacks caused no injuries, while the embassy attack caused very minor damage.

Explosions were heard near the embassy, in the centre of the capital, at about 4am on Friday. Sirens calling on people to take cover were activated.

State media said the attack damaged the headquarters of an Iraqi security agency.

Sheikh Ali Damoush, a senior official in the Lebanese group Hezbollah, said in a Friday sermon that attacks by Iran-aligned groups across the Middle East aim to apply pressure for a halt to Israel's offensive in the Gaza Strip. He did not refer specifically to Friday's attack.

US forces in Iraq and Syria have been attacked at least 84 times since October 17, the defence official said.

The US has responded with a series of strikes that have killed at least 15 militants in Iraq and up to seven in Syria.

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