RT – At least one rocket fell near Baghdad’s heavily fortified Green Zone, which houses the US Embassy and other diplomatic compounds in Iraq, according to reports, possibly marking the first attack on the facility in weeks.
The explosion set off sirens at the US Embassy compound on Tuesday morning, local media said. The rocket was fired from an eastern district of Baghdad and hit an empty building inside the zone, Reuters reported, citing the Iraqi military. No casualties have been reported in the incident.
Though the sprawling Green Zone complex and the surrounding area have been a frequent target for rocket strikes over the years – at least 27 so far in 2020 alone – such incidents have decreased in recent weeks, with the last one coming on May 6 near the Baghdad International Airport, located some 25 kilometers west of the Green Zone. If confirmed, Tuesday’s strike would also come as the first since the appointment of Iraq’s new Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi, a former intelligence chief.
A retired journalist who spent years in exile in the UK during the reign of Saddam Hussein, Kadhimi’s appointment ended months of political deadlock in Iraq following the resignation of Adel Abdul Mahdi. While his rise was met with excitement in Washington – with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo voicing support for his “bold agenda” – the PM has been controversial for some of the more Iran-aligned factions in Iraqi politics. Some militia groups insist he should be “behind bars,” accusing him of approving the US assassination of Iranian Quds Force commander Qassem Solemani in January, which triggered widespread protests in Iraq, including calls to expel American troops from the country.