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Rockets Fall Near U.S. Embassy In Baghdad

Multiple rockets fell in Baghdad’s heavily guarded Green Zone, which houses the U.S. Embassy, and at an air force base outside the city on Saturday, several outlets have reported. 

No casualties have been reported so far.

The Iraqi military confirmed in a statement on Saturday afternoon that the Green Zone and Balad Air Base had been targeted along with an additional location, the neighborhood of Jadriya in Baghdad, south of the Green Zone. An American spokesman confirmed that rocket attacks occurred in Baghdad and at the Balad Air Base.

Coalition forces have seen a total of 13 attacks in the last two months, according to Operation Inherent Resolve spokesman Col. Myles B. Caggins III.

“We have increased security and defensive measures at the Iraqi bases that host anti-ISIS Coalition troops. Our command places protection of Coalition personnel and security partners as the top priority; we remain vigilant and resolute,” Caggins said.

“Several rockets targeting Celebration Square and the Jadriya area in Baghdad, and the Balad Air Base in Salahuddin province, with no loss of life. Further details to come,” the statement said, according to a translation done by Reuters. 

At Balad Air Base, an Iraqi base that also houses American troops and contractors, two Soviet-era Katyusha rockets exploded, Reuters reported.

Although it was not clear who fired the rockets on Saturday, the reported attacks come after Iran vowed to retaliate against the U.S. for a Thursday night airstrike that killed Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani, a powerful figure in the Middle East who helmed an elite military force. 

Soleimani’s funeral had been held earlier on Saturday. Mourners dressed in black turned up by the thousands to grieve, with some chanting “death to America” and “America is the great Satan.” 

His assassination marked a significant escalation in tensions in the region, where the U.S. and Iran-backed forces have been trading blows. One late December attack left an American contractor dead and several others wounded.

President Donald Trump said in a statement that he gave the order to attack Soleimani’s convoy near Baghdad International Airport in order to prevent war. The Trump administration claims Soleimani was plotting an imminent attack against Americans. 

“The United States has the best military by far anywhere in the world. We have the best intelligence in the world,” Trump said Friday afternoon.

“If Americans anywhere are threatened, we have all of those targets already fully identified, and I am ready and prepared to take whatever action is necessary,” he said, adding, “And that in particular refers to Iran.”

This has been updated to include comment from a U.S. military spokesman.

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