Baghdad, Dec. 8 (Reuters) – Rockets were fired at the U.S. embassy in Baghdad on Friday in an attack believed to have been carried out by Iran-aligned militants targeting U.S. interests in Syria and Iraq over Washington’s support for Israel in Gaza. War.
No group has claimed responsibility for the attack and there were no casualties, an embassy spokesman said. State media reported that it damaged the headquarters of the Iraqi security forces.
An explosion was heard near the embassy in the center of the capital around 4am on Friday. Sirens were activated calling people to take cover.
It marked the first time a U.S. embassy had been fired upon, after dozens of attacks on military bases housing U.S. forces in Iraq and Syria have widened their range of targets since mid-October amid fears the conflict could escalate in the region.
Sheikh Ali Damosh, a senior official of the Lebanese group Hezbollah, said in a sermon on Friday that attacks by Iran-aligned groups across the Middle East are aimed at pressuring Israel to end its offensive in the Gaza Strip. He did not specifically mention Friday’s attack.
Dozens of attacks against US forces in Iraq and Syria have been claimed by a group of Iran-aligned Shia Muslim militias operating under the banner of Islamic Resistance in Iraq.
The US has responded with a series of strikes that have killed at least 15 militants in Iraq and up to seven in Syria.
‘acts of terrorism’
The attacks are a challenge for Iraqi Prime Minister Mohammad Shia al-Sudani, who has vowed to protect foreign missions and capitalize on fragile stability to focus on the economy and foreign investment, including in the United States.
Sudani ordered security agencies to pursue the perpetrators, describing them as “unruly, lawless groups that in no way represent the will of the Iraqi people”.
He added that acts of terrorism undermine Iraq’s stability, reputation and target places Iraq has pledged to protect.
A U.S. Embassy spokesman urged the Iraqi government to do all it can to protect diplomatic and coalition personnel and facilities.
“We reiterate that we have the right to defend ourselves and protect our personnel anywhere in the world,” he said.
In addition to its diplomatic staff in Iraq, the U.S. says it has about 2,500 troops in the country aimed at advising and assisting local forces trying to prevent an Islamic State resurgence. Defeated.
The Iran-aligned Houthis have been firing on Israel and ships in the Red Sea in a campaign aimed at supporting the Palestinians. US warships shot down several missiles.
Report by Taimur Azhari; Editing by Gerry Doyle and Angus MacSwan
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