ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – Baghdad’s fortified Green Zone came under rocket fire Monday night, security sources said, with one missile reportedly landing near the US embassy.
Multiple security sources told Kurdistan 24 that the attack was carried out around midnight and noted that there had been no casualties.
Iraq’s military comms center, security media cell (SMC), later confirmed reports of the attack, in which it said “mortar shells” were used. The SMC said one of the ordnances landed in an empty area around the Green Zone and the second fell into the Tigris.
However, AFP quoted foreign sources as saying that the attack was carried out using“three Katyusha rockets,” one falling near the US embassy and another falling three meters from the southwest gate of the Green Zone.
The sources said that the “third missile” landed in the Tigris River surrounding the Green Zone, which was heavily fortified until Baghdad recently opened it streets, except for roads leading to the US Embassy.
An Iraqi police officer said the security forces had identified the rocket launch site as the Hawr Rajab area, located in southern Baghdad and where several pro-Iranian militia groups are based.
The Western sources inside the Green Zone said they heard sirens from within the US Embassy twice in a row.
The international anti-ISIS coalition issued a statement in response to the attack, with spokesman Col. Myles B. Caggins saying “no Coalition or US-occupied facility was struck.”
But, “we take this incident seriously as do our Iraqi Security Forces partners…We have made clear that attacks on Coalition personnel and facilities will not be tolerated and Coalition Forces retain the right to defend ourselves.”
Such attacks have taken place several times in recent years, with an earlier one having been conducted on May 19, when a Katyusha rocket hit the Green Zone days after Washington withdrew its non-essential staff and diplomats from its embassy in Iraq.
The attack comes amid ongoing tensions between the United States and Iran. The situation escalated further when earlier this month drones and long-range missiles struck oil facilities inside a US regional ally, Saudi Arabia.
Washington blamed Tehran for the attack, which shut down 5 percent of the world's oil output.
Editing by Nadia Riva