Rocket strikes dining facility at US Embassy compound in Baghdad


(CNN) — At least one rocket hit a dining facility Sunday on the compound of the US Embassy in Baghdad, a US official told CNN.

03 January 2020, Iraq, Baghdad: A general view of the US embassy compound on the banks of the Tigris River. A US airstrike in Baghdad killed on Friday Qassem Soleimani, the commander of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard’s elite Quds Force, and Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, the deputy head of the predominantly Shia Muslim Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF). Photo: Ameer Al Mohmmedaw/dpa (Photo by Ameer Al Mohmmedaw/picture alliance via Getty Images)

The official said at this early stage there are reports of minor damage.

“We are aware of reports of rockets landing in the International Zone, a State Department spokesperson said Sunday evening but did not specifically address the embassy itself.

While the State Department is not directly blaming Iranian-backed militia groups for the attack, the spokesperson referenced Iran’s threat in the region and past attacks by such militias on US interests.

“The security situation remains tense and Iranian-backed armed groups remain a threat. So, we remain vigilant,” the spokesperson said.

The US is calling on the government of Iraq “to fulfill its obligations to protect our diplomatic facilities,” the State Department spokesperson said. The department noted that it will not comment further on the security situation in Baghdad and did not address whether any employees were injured.

Since September, there have been more than 14 attacks either by the Iranian government or militias backed by Tehran on US personnel based in Iraq, according to the State Department.

Rep. Michael McCaul, the lead Republican on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said in a tweet Sunday that he is “closely monitoring reports of a rocket attack targeting the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad.”

“Violent acts against our diplomatic facilities are simply unacceptable. We must ensure the safety of American diplomats, troops and other Americans in Iraq.”

Adil Abdul Mahdi, the prime minister of Iraq, condemned the attack and said Iraqi forces have been ordered to “deploy, search, and investigate to prevent the recurrence of such attacks, and to arrest those who launched these rockets so that they can be punished.”

The Prime Minister said the Iraqi government is “committed to protecting all diplomatic missions and taking all necessary measures to achieve this.”

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