US Embassy base in Iraq targeted by escalating rocket attacks

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Three rockets were fired at the US embassy in Iraq early Thursday, the Iraqi military said, after a day marked by rocket and drone attacks on bases hosting US forces in Iraq and Iraq. Syria.

The embassy itself was not affected, the army said, but three locations near the heavily fortified Green Zone of Baghdad were.

A series of recent attacks on US military and diplomatic installations in Iraq have been blamed on pro-Iran armed groups within a state-sponsored paramilitary force.

U.S. forces, which have deployed 2,500 troops to Iraq as part of an international coalition of anti-Islamic State groups, have been targeted nearly 50 times this year in the country, but in recent days have seen an increase in frequency of attacks.

Fourteen rockets were fired at an air base housing US troops in western Anbar province on Wednesday, slightly injuring two people, the coalition said.

A Shiite militant group called the Revenge of al-Muhandis Brigade has claimed responsibility and vowed to defeat the “brutal occupation”, according to US intelligence group SITE, which monitors extremist groups.

The militant group is named after Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis of the Iraqi paramilitary alliance Hashed al-Shaabi, who was killed in a US drone strike early last year along with revered Iranian General Qasem Soleimani , said SITE.

Late last month, the United States carried out airstrikes against pro-Iran fighters in Iraq and Syria.

The rockets “landed on the base and perimeter” of the Ain al-Assad base on Wednesday, coalition spokesman Wayne Marotto tweeted, adding that local houses and a mosque were also damaged.

Iraqi security forces said the rocket launcher was hidden inside a truck carrying sacks of flour.

Similar attacks took place earlier this week.

On Monday evening, US forces shot down an armed drone over the embassy, ​​Iraqi security officials said.

U.S. defense systems fired rockets into the air in the capital, AFP reporters said, with Iraqi security sources claiming the bursts knocked out an explosive-laden drone.

A few hours earlier, rockets had also been fired in the direction of Ain al-Assad.

Asked about the upsurge in violence, State Department spokesman Ned Price told reporters: “These attacks reflect and are representative of the threat that Iranian-backed militias pose fundamentally to sovereignty and security. stability of Iraq.

Syria “drone attacks”

Across the Syrian border, where pro-Iran fighters fought alongside the Damascus regime in the decade-long civil war, Kurdish-led forces have also reported attempted attacks near ‘a coalition base.

The United States-backed Syrian Democratic Forces said it repelled drone attacks near the base of the Omar oil field in the east of the country in the second such operation in days.

“Our frontline forces against ISIS and coalition forces in the area of ​​the Omar oilfield have faced drone attacks,” he said, adding that the drones had not caused no damage.

the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a Britain-based war observer with sources in Syria, said pro-Iran militias likely launched the drones from a rural area outside the southwestern town of Al-Mayadeen from the oilfield.

It was the second such attack in days, after the SDF reported that “two unidentified rocket-propelled grenades landed on the west side of the al-Omar oil field” on Sunday evening, which did not ’caused no casualties.

Pro-Iranian militias also fired several shells at Al-Omar on Monday last week, causing damage but no casualties, the Observatory said.

The United States had launched airstrikes the night before against three targets it said were used by pro-Iran groups in eastern Syria and western Iraq.

The Observatory said at least five “Iranian-backed Iraqi militia fighters” were killed in the strikes on the Syrian side of the border.