Tensions in Iraq have intensified near the first anniversary of the assassination of senior Iranian officer Suleimani.
December 20th local time, the “Green Zone” of Baghdad, the capital of Iraq, was attacked by several rockets. The C-RAM air defense system of the U.S. Embassy in Iraq responded by firing multiple rounds of anti-aircraft machine guns.
AFP reported on the 21st that the reporter heard at least five explosions, heard thunderous rapid shooting a few minutes later, and saw a series of red flares in the dark sky, indicating that the U.S. Embassy had activated the air defense system to intercept rockets.
The U.S. Embassy in Iraq subsequently confirmed that the anti-aircraft system they deployed intervened in the rocket attack, and the embassy was slightly damaged, but there were no casualties.
Reuters quoted the Iraqi military as saying that the rockets were launched by an “illegal organization”, and most of the rockets hit a residential area and security checkpoint in the “Green Zone”, destroying buildings and cars.
The U.S. Embassy in Iraq issued a statement condemning the attack and urging Iraqi government leaders to take measures to prevent and hold the perpetrators accountable.
In the early morning of January 3 this year, Major General Suleimani, the supreme commander of the “Quds Brigade” of the elite army of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps, was killed in Iraq. The Pentagon subsequently announced that the United States launched the attack, and President Trump personally ordered it.
On January 4th and 5th, Baghdad’s “Green Zone” was attacked by rockets for two consecutive days, many of which exploded near the U.S. Embassy.
In September, the Trump administration warned Iraq that the U.S. Embassy in Iraq would close if the Iraqi government could not take decisive action to stop the Iranian-backed militia from attacking the United States and its allies.
For many consecutive days that month, the U.S. Embassy was attacked by a large number of rockets.
Earlier this month, the United States withdrew some staff from the embassy in Iraq. Al Jazeera said that the U.S. move was due to concerns about possible revenge attacks near the first anniversary of Suleimani’s assassination.