Photo Credit: Sgt Kyle Talbot / US Marine Corps / Public Domain
US Marines arrive in Baghdad to reinforce the US Embassy amid protests by Iran-backed Shiite militia forces. 31 Dec 2019

Multiple news agencies reported late Sunday night that three Katyusha rockets directly struck the US Embassy in Baghdad. One struck the dining area of the embassy, according to Iraqi security sources quoted by Al Arabiya.

At least one person was wounded in the attack, according to an “official” report by the AFP news agency, which means the information was confirmed and authorized for release either by the Iraqi military or by the US Department of Defense. It’s expected the number of wounded may change.

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A barrage of five rockets was aimed in a barrage at the Green Zone in the capital, where foreign missions, the Iraqi parliament and other government buildings are located. Three of the five rockets that were fired slammed into the American embassy, including one that landed in the mission’s dining facility just as people had gathered for the dinner hour. Red Alert incoming rocket sirens gave some warning to diners to take cover, but it’s not known whether everyone managed to reach a safe space in time.

There were several unconfirmed reports of American helicopters landing at the embassy, in addition to unconfirmed reports of wounded as well. Al Arabiya reported there were “a number of casualties,” adding the embassy “has been regularly hit by rockets in recent months.”

Earlier in the day, three Katyusha rockets landed near the US Embassy in a separate attack, according to a report by Iraq’s Al Sumaria TV.

Iraqi Prime Minister Adil Abdul Mahdi denounced the attack in a statement carried on state-run television, saying “The continued irresponsible, unilateral behavior harms the higher interests of the country and its relations with its friends.

“The government confirms its commitment to protect all diplomatic missions and take all necessary measures to achieve this,” he said.

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