A Katyusha rocket was fired at Baghdad on Sunday, exploding in the city’s Green Zone, less than a mile from Iraqi government offices, the U.S. Embassy and those of other nations.
The rocket was allegedly fired from the area of Jisr al-Amanah in the Iraqi capital and struck in the vicinity of the U.S. Embassy, according to multiple Arab sources.
No casualties were reported. It’s not yet clear who fired the rocket.
Alhurra TV news correspondent Steven Nabil tweeted in an unconfirmed report Sunday night that the rocket launch pad used to launch the rocket against the Green Zone was “targeting the U.S. Embassy. This was placed in the service road in front of the Technological University in Baghdad,” he said.
Breaking: The rocket launch pad used to launch a rocket against the Green zone in Baghdad tonight targeting the U.S Embassy. This was placed jn the service road in front of the Technological university in Baghdad pic.twitter.com/yPGxWdxL9i
— Steven nabil (@thestevennabil) May 19, 2019
A separate source which also said the rocket “possibly” was aimed at the U.S. embassy, identified the launch location as the “Amana bridge.”
Breaking: a rocket was launched 10 minutes ago possibly toward the U.S embassy in Baghdad. Launch location the Amana bridge in Baghdad. Blast was loud and us embassy warning all to take cover pic.twitter.com/od3tDab4Va
— Anne Speckhard (@AnneSpeckhard) May 19, 2019
Neither source was able to identify who had launched the rocket.
Iraqi security services confirmed the report in a brief statement, saying, “A Katyusha rocket crashed into the Green Zone without causing casualties,” according to the AFP news agency.
The Green Zone, also known as the International Zone, is located in the center of the Iraqi capital, and houses the country’s parliament, the prime minister’s office, the presidential office and the homes of top Iraqi officials; it is one of the world’s most closely-secured urban quarters.
The attack came just a few days after the U.S. State Department ordered all non-essential personnel to evacuate the country, citing threats from neighboring Iran.
U.S. energy giant ExxonMobil likewise evacuated its staff this weekend from an oil field in southern Iraq, despite a statement of outrage in response on Sunday by Iraqi officials.
“The reasons are political and probably linked to tensions in the region,” claimed Iraqi Oil Minister Thamer al-Ghadban in a statement released by his ministry. He called the decision “unacceptable and unjustified.”
Non-essential U.S. personnel were also evacuated on Wednesday from the U.S. Consulate in Erbil, in northern Iraq.