February 26, 2024

Brighton Journal

Complete News World

The US embassy in Baghdad was hit by seven mortar shells as attacks escalated

The US embassy in Baghdad was hit by seven mortar shells as attacks escalated

Dec 8 (Reuters) – About seven mortar shells fell on the US embassy compound in Baghdad during an attack early on Friday in what appeared to be the largest attack of its kind in recent memory, a US military official told Reuters.

US forces in Iraq and Syria were also targeted by missiles and drones at least five more times on Friday; Another US defense official said three times at separate bases in Syria, and twice at Ain al-Asad air base west of Baghdad.

The attacks were the most recorded against US forces in the region in a single day since mid-October, when Iranian-allied militias began targeting US assets in Iraq and Syria over Washington’s support for Israel in its war against Hamas in Gaza.

US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, in a phone call with Iraqi Prime Minister Muhammad Shia al-Sudani, condemned the attacks and singled out the armed groups allied with Iran, Kataib Hezbollah and Harakat Hezbollah al-Nujaba, in the recent targeting of American individuals.

“The United States reserves the right to respond decisively against those groups,” Austin told Al-Sudani, according to a Pentagon statement summarizing the call.

The attack on the embassy was the first time it had been fired upon in more than a year, apparently widening the range of targets. Dozens of military bases housing American forces were attacked, raising fears of the expansion of the regional conflict.

No group has claimed responsibility, but previous attacks against US forces were carried out by militias allied with Iran operating under the banner of the Islamic Resistance in Iraq.

See also  Israeli PM meets Putin to discuss Ukraine

The American military official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, left the door open to the possibility that more projectiles were fired at the embassy compound, but they did not fall inside.

US officials said that Friday’s attacks caused no casualties, and that the attack on the embassy caused very minor damage.

Reuters was the first to report the number of mortar shells that hit the embassy compound.

Explosions were heard near the embassy in central Baghdad at around 4 a.m. (0100 GMT) on Friday. Sirens were activated, calling on people to take shelter.

Official media said that the attack damaged the headquarters of an Iraqi security apparatus.

Sheikh Ali Damoush, a senior official in the Lebanese Hezbollah group, said in his Friday sermon that the attacks launched by Iran-allied groups across the Middle East are aimed at exerting pressure to stop the Israeli attack on the Gaza Strip. He did not specifically refer to Friday’s attack.

The defense official said that US forces in Iraq and Syria have been attacked at least 84 times since October 17.

The United States responded with a series of strikes that killed at least 15 militants in Iraq and up to seven in Syria.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs called on the Iraqi security forces to immediately investigate and arrest the perpetrators.

“The numerous Iranian-aligned militias operating freely in Iraq threaten the security and stability of Iraq, our personnel, and our partners in the region,” State Department spokesman Matthew Miller said in a statement.

Miller added, “The Iraqi government has repeatedly committed to protecting diplomatic missions as well as American military personnel present in the country at the invitation of Iraq. This is non-negotiable, like our right to self-defense.”

See also  Russia has officially withdrawn from the main post-Cold War European Armed Forces Treaty

“acts of terrorism”

The attacks represent a challenge to Sudanese, who has pledged to protect foreign missions and take advantage of fragile stability to focus on the economy and attract foreign investments, including the United States.

A statement issued by his office said that Al-Sudani directed the security services to pursue the perpetrators, describing them as “outlaw groups that do not in any way represent the will of the Iraqi people.”

He also said that destabilizing Iraq and its reputation and targeting places that Iraq has committed to protecting are acts of terrorism.

The leader of the Sayyid al-Shuhada Brigades militia, one of the main factions targeting US forces in the region, said in a social media post that he refuses to “stop or reduce operations” while “Zionist crimes continue in Gaza.”

In addition to its diplomatic staff in Iraq, the United States has about 2,500 soldiers in the country on a mission that it says is aimed at providing advice and assistance to local forces trying to prevent the return of the Islamic State, which in 2014 seized large areas of Iraq and Syria. Before he is defeated.

The Iran-aligned Houthis in Yemen have been firing on Israel and ships in the Red Sea in a campaign they say is aimed at supporting the Palestinians. The American warships dropped many of their projectiles.

(Reporting by Taimur Azhari in Baghdad, Phil Stewart in Washington, and Idris Ali in Karachi – Prepared by Muhammad for the Arab Newsletter) Writing by Taimur Azhari; Editing by Margarita Choi, David Gregorio, Grant McCall, Daniel Wallis and Cynthia Osterman

See also  Covid-19, mask authorization and vaccine news: live updates

Our standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

Obtaining licensing rightsopens a new tab

Phil Stewart has reported from more than 60 countries, including Afghanistan, Ukraine, Syria, Iraq, Pakistan, Russia, Saudi Arabia, China and South Sudan. An award-winning national security correspondent based in Washington, Phil has appeared on NPR, the PBS NewsHour, Fox News and other programs and has moderated national security events, including the Reagan National Defense Forum and the German Marshall Fund. He received the Edwin M. Hood Award for Diplomatic Correspondence and the Joe Galloway Award.

National Security Correspondent focuses on the Pentagon in Washington, D.C., reporting on U.S. military activities and operations around the world and their impact. He has reported from more than twenty countries including Iraq, Afghanistan, much of the Middle East, Asia, and Europe. From Karachi, Pakistan.