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Tuesday, February 27, 2024

Iraq. The US Embassy in Baghdad was hit by mortar shells

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At least seven mortar shells fell on the US embassy compound in Baghdad on Friday morning, a US military official told Reuters. He reported that no one was injured. “We reserve the right to self-defense and protect our personnel anywhere in the world,” said the embassy spokesman, quoted by the agency.

A military official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, did not rule out that the number of missiles fired could have been more than seven, but they did not hit the target.

He said the attack caused very little damage and no one was injured.

He added that the target was also the Al-Asad air base, where American and other international forces are stationed in the western Iraqbut the missiles did not reach their target.

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The headquarters of the US Embassy in Baghdad. Photo from December 2019AHMED JALIL /EPA/PAP

“One of the largest attacks on the embassy in recent years”

Reuters notes in a commentary that the firing of these missiles “appears to be one of the largest attacks on the embassy in recent years” and adds that it was the first shelling of the embassy in over a year USA.

No group claimed responsibility for the attack, but a previous attack on U.S. forces was carried out by militias allied with Iranwhich targeted U.S. interests in Syria and Iraq over Washington’s support for Israel in the war in Gaza.

Sheikh Ali Damoush, a representative of the Lebanese group Hezbollah, said on Friday that the attacks by groups allied with Iran in the Middle East are aimed at putting pressure to stop the Israeli offensive in the Gaza Strip. However, he did not refer specifically to Friday’s attack.

US Embassy Representative: We reserve the right to self-defense

Reuters comments that the attack on the US embassy “poses a challenge” for Iraqi Prime Minister Mohammed Shia’ Al Sudani, who has pledged to protect foreign missions and use the country’s fragile stability to focus on the economy and foreign investment in the country, including from 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 also said that undermining Iraq’s stability, reputation and targeting places that Iraq has pledged to protect are “acts of terrorism.”

A U.S. embassy spokesman called on the Iraqi government to do everything in its power to protect diplomatic staff and facilities. “We reiterate that we reserve the right to self-defense and protect our personnel anywhere in the world,” he said, as quoted by Reuters.

Main photo source: AHMED JALIL /EPA/PAP



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