A rocket fired toward the U.S. Embassy in Iraq landed near a house, injuring a child, said Iraqi officials on Sunday morning.
“A Katyusha rocket was launched from the Ali Al-Saleh area of Baghdad towards the Green Zone,” Iraqi security officials wrote in a statement, referring to the area that houses the embassy. Katyusha rockets, which are often used by Iran-backed militia groups operating in Iraq, have been frequently fired at the U.S. Embassy area so far this year.
The rocket landed near a house and “resulted in the injury of a child and damage to the house,” security officials wrote.
Authorities said Iraqi security forces were able to stop an attack in the Umm al-Azam area and were able to seize a Katyusha missile and launching platform. The rocket was being aimed at the Taji camp area, located north of Baghdad, which is a training base used by U.S.-led coalition forces.
… في الوقت ذاته تمكنت قواتنا مِن إحباط هجوم اخر في منطقة ام العظام والسيطرة على صاروخ نوع كاتيوشا أيضاً وقاعدة الاطلاق، وقد تبين أن هذا الصاروخ كان موجه نحو معسكر التاجي شمالي العاصمة . pic.twitter.com/rMntLkDy2i
— خلية الإعلام الأمني🇮🇶 (@SecMedCell) July 5, 2020
Two Americans and one British soldier were killed in a rocket attack at Camp Taiji in March.
In recent days, the United States criticized Iraq’s federal government for being unable to reign in Iran-backed militia groups it believes are orchestrating the attacks. Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi has pledged to protect American installations from attacks, U.S. officials said, according to The Associated Press.
Iraqi security forces last week raided the headquarters of the powerful Iran-backed terrorist group Kataib Hezbollah and detained 14 men suspected of being responsible for rocket attacks targeting the Green Zone. Thirteen detainees were later released and one remains in custody.
The U.S. Embassy began testing the new air defense system late Saturday, the Iraqi officials said. It drew condemnation from Deputy Speaker of Parliament Hassan al-Kaabi, who called on the government to take action against the “illegal” move which would “provoke the Iraqi people,” according to a government statement.
Iran-backed militias have ramped up their rocket attacks this year following the U.S.-approved drone strike of Iranian commander Qassem Soleimani, who was accused of killing hundreds of American troops over the years. Iran then fired a barrage of about two-dozen rockets, hitting two military bases housing American soldiers in Iraq.
Days before the Soleimani airstrike, Iran-backed extremist groups were seen attempting to enter the U.S. Embassy, setting one structure on fire.