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US Embassy Targeted On Third Day Of Attacks in Iraq

The U.S. Embassy in Baghdad’s Green Zone was the target of a rocket attack early on Thursday as tensions in Iraq escalate with daily attacks on U.S. troops and personnel in what an analyst says is a coordinated escalation coming from Iran-backed Shiite militias in Iraq.

One of the two rockets fired at the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad on Thursday was diverted by the anti-rocket systems, while the other landed close to the perimeter of the Green Zone, Iraqi security sources told Reuters.

This was the third attack at bases or buildings housing U.S. troops and personnel this week alone.

On Wednesday, a base housing U.S. troops in Iraq was attacked with rockets, resulting in minor injuries, while the U.S.-backed coalition in Syria thwarted a drone attack on Syria’s largest oilfield, the U.S. and Kurdish commandments said. 

In Iraq, the Ain Al-Assad Air Base was attacked by 14 rockets at around noon local time, Col. Wayne Marotto, Spokesman for Operation Inherent Resolve (OIR), said. n an update later in the day, Col. Marotto said that there was 100 percent accountability at Ain Al-Assad Air Base after the rocket attack. Two personnel sustained minor injuries, while damages are still being assessed.  

The Ain al-Asad airbase in western Iraq was also hit with at least three rockets late Monday, presumably targeting U.S. forces stationed there, but causing no casualties. 

“It seems to me they have the green light from Iran to escalate, especially given that the nuclear negotiations are not going well,” Hamdi Malik, an associate fellow at the Washington Institute and a specialist on Iraq’s Shiite militias, told Reuters, commenting on the apparent Iran-backed escalation of attacks.

Meanwhile, diplomats haven’t set a date yet to continue the talks on the so-called Iran nuclear deal for potentially bringing back Iran and the U.S. to the agreement, which could result in Iranian oil legitimately returning to the market. The negotiations were adjourned just after the presidential election in Iran in June, in which Ebrahim Raisi was elected president.

Earlier this week, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said Iran had begun the production of enriched uranium metal, prompting the three Western negotiators in the Iran nuclear deal to issue a joint statement condemning the move.

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By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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