.
.
.
.

Pro-Iran militia warns Iraqi security forces to stay away from US bases

Published: Updated:

Kataeb Hezbollah, a hardline pro-Iran faction in Iraq’s Hashed al-Shaabi military network, warned Iraqi troops on Saturday to keep their distance from US forces at military bases.

“We ask security forces in the country to get at least 1,000 meters away from US bases starting on Sunday at 5:00pm (1400 GMT),” said the group.

The vehemently anti-American group’s statement came after mortars and rockets hit near the US embassy in Baghdad and a base where US troops are stationed.

Several rockets fell on Saturday near the United States embassy in Baghdad’s heavily fortified Green Zone which houses government buildings and foreign missions but caused no casualties, the Iraqi military said.

RELATED: Coalition scales back Iraq operations for security reasons: US

In another incident, two Katyusha rockets fell inside Iraq's Balad air base, 80 km (50 miles) north of Baghdad, which houses US forces.

The Iraqi military confirmed the missile attacks in Baghdad and on Balad base and said there were no casualties.

Planes from the US-led coalition were heard circulating above their bases in Kirkuk province, AFP’s correspondent there said.

A US defense official said the coalition’s surveillance capabilities had been redirected away from ISIS to focus on possible new rocket attacks.

The missile attacks appeared to be the first hints of a retaliatory response to the killing by the US of a top Iranian general near Baghdad airport on Friday.