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Iraqi officials: 4 rockets target US Embassy in Baghdad

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BAGDADH: JAN. 14 – At least four rockets targeted the US Embassy in Baghdad’s heavily fortified Green Zone on Thursday, two Iraqi security officials said.

The area is home to diplomatic missions and the seat of Iraq’s government. Three of the missiles struck within the perimeter of the American Embassy, the officials said. Another hit a school located in a nearby residential complex.

The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to talk to the media.

An Iraqi military statement said a girl and a woman were injured in the attack, without providing more details. The statement said the rockets had been launched from the Dora neighborhood of Baghdad.

Witnesses said they heard the embassy’s C-RAM defense system–supposed to detect and destroy incoming rockets, artillery and mortar shells– during the attack.

The attack is the latest in a series of rocket and drone attacks that have targeted the American presence in Iraq since the start of the year, following the second anniversary of the US strike that killed Iranian Gen. Qassim Soleimani and Iraqi militia commander Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis.

Last Thursday, a series of attacks targeted American troops in Iraq and Syria. Rockets struck an Iraqi military base hosting US troops in western Anbar province and the capital.

Pro-Iran Shiite factions in Iraq have vowed revenge for Soleimani’s killing and have conditioned the end of the attacks on the full exit of American troops from the country.

The US-led coalition formally ended its combat mission supporting Iraqi forces in the ongoing fight against the Islamic State group last month.

Some 2,500 troops will remain as the coalition shifts to an advisory mission to continue supporting Iraqi forces.

The top US commander for the Middle East, Marine Gen. Frank McKenzie, warned in an interview with The Associated Press last month that he expects increasing attacks on US and Iraqi personnel by Iranian-backed militias determined to get American forces out.

-AP

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