Rocket lands near US Embassy in Baghdad’s Green Zone in Iraq

The US embassy compound is pictured in Baghdad's Green Zone on May 20, 2019 in the Iraqi capital. (AFP)

One rocket hit near the US embassy in Baghdad early Tuesday morning, security sources told AFP, the first to land in the high-security zone in weeks.

The blast could be heard across the Iraqi capital and triggered security sirens at the US embassy compound but did not cause casualties, the sources confirmed.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility.

It follows more than two dozen similar attacks against American interests in Iraq since October that the US has blamed on Iran-backed factions among Iraq’s security forces.

For all the latest headlines follow our Google News channel online or via the app.

Read more: Americans will be expelled from Iraq and Syria, says Iran’s Khamenei

Iraqi security forces close a bridge leading to the Green Zone while protesters gather during a demonstration demanding services and jobs in Tahrir Square, in central Baghdad. (File photo: Reuters)

Iraqi security forces close a bridge leading to the Green Zone while protesters gather during a demonstration demanding services and jobs in Tahrir Square, in central Baghdad. (File photo: Reuters)

The volleys of rockets, which have killed US, British and Iraqi armed personnel, have severely strained ties between Baghdad and Washington.

Tensions reached boiling point in January when the US killed Iranian general Qassem Soleimani and Iraqi commander Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis in a drone strike on Baghdad.

But the US and Iraq have hoped to reset the relationship since Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi took the helm earlier this month, with bilateral talks planned for June.

Read more: Who is Iraq’s new Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi?

The negotiations are expected to set a framework for the presence of US troops, which deployed to Iraq in 2014 to lead a coalition fighting back against ISIS.

But the forces are a thorn in the side of Iran and its allies in Iraq, which have insisted they leave the country.

On Sunday, Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said the US “will not be staying either in Iraq or Syria and must withdraw and will certainly be expelled.

The US-led coalition has already drawn down its 7,500-strong force in Iraq this year, citing a decreased threat from IS and difficulties training Iraqi forces due to the spread of the coronavirus.

SHOW MORE
Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 09:58 - GMT 06:58
Top