Rockets were fired at the US embassy in Baghdad on Friday in an attack believed to have been carried out by Iran-aligned militias that have targeted US interests in Syria and Iraq over Washington’s backing for Israel in its Gaza war.
No group claimed responsibility for the attack, which an embassy spokesperson said did not result in any casualties. State media said it damaged the headquarters of an Iraqi security agency.
Explosions were heard near the embassy, in the centre of the capital, at about 4am on Friday. Sirens calling on people to take cover were activated.
It marked the first time the US embassy had been fired on, apparently widening the range of targets after dozens of attacks on military bases housing US forces in Iraq and Syria since mid-October amid fears of broadening conflict in the region.
A senior official in Lebanon’s Hezbollah movement said on Friday attacks by Iran-aligned groups across the Middle East aim to apply pressure for a halt to Israel’s offensive in the Gaza Strip. He did not refer specifically to Friday’s attack.
The dozens of attacks against US forces in Iraq and Syria have been claimed by a group of Iran-aligned militias operating under the banner of the Islamic Resistance in Iraq.
The US has responded with a series of strikes that have killed at least 15 militants in Iraq and up to seven in Syria.
‘ACTS OF TERRORISM’
The attacks pose a challenge for Iraqi Prime Minister Mohammed Shia al-Sudani, who has pledged to protect foreign missions and capitalise on fragile stability to focus on the economy and court foreign investment, including from the United States.