On March 5th, three Katyusha rockets were fired towards the heavily fortified Green Zone, which houses the U.S. embassy and other missions, in the Iraqi capital, police sources said.
One rocket landed near the entrance of the Green Zone, the other near the Turkish embassy, the sources said, adding that the damage was unclear. A third rocket landed outside the zone.
On March 1st, two Katyusha rockets fell in the Green Zone, as well, and no casualties and damage were reported.
Separately, on March 3rd, at least one rocket reportedly hit he Al-Saddiq base in Iraq’s Salah ad-Din governorate north of Baghdad.
According to Turkey’s Anadolu Agency citing an Iraqi officer, two Katyusha rockets landed in the camp, with no major damage or casualties, as per the immediate reports.
While the agency says it is unclear where the rockets were launched from, some of the initial reports suggested the projectiles came from an area controlled by Iran-backed militias.
There’s been occasional shelling of the Green Zone and US military bases, since on January 8th Iran launched a large number of ballistic missiles towards the al-Asad military base in Iraq, with the US initially reporting that there were no damages and injuries.
Since then, both damages and injuries have been proven and admitted in an ever-expanding tally.
Just days earlier, the Iraqi government voted a non-binding resolution to expel all foreign troops from Iraq, including those of the US.
Since then, the US has stuck to the fact that its “non-binding” and has said that it would not withdraw any of its troops. Since then, there have been reports that Germany, France and Australia have requested to withdraw their troops, which have been rebuked.
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said that the alliance’s defense ministers have, furthermore, agreed to enhance NATO’s training mission in Iraq by deploying even more troops.
Meanwhile, Iraq is experiencing a power vacuum as Mohammed Tawfiq Allawi, who was designated to become prime minister with the support of Shiite Cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, withdrew his candidacy March 2nd after he failed to form a government within the constitutionally mandated 30-day deadline.
It is possible that caretaker Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi, could return to the Prime Minister seat.
However, Abdul Mahdi said March 2nd that he is taking a voluntary absence from the post.
Allawi’s failure resulted from a large front that formed against him and his supporters in parliament. Allawi only had the support of the Fatah Alliance —- the political wing of the Popular Mobilization Units (PMU) — and, initially, Muqtada al-Sadr’s Sairoon Alliance.
“Some are trying to nominate candidates for the prime minister position who are accused of being involved in the [Jan. 3] US assassination of [Iranian Quds Force] commander Qasem Soleimani and PMU commander Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis. This is a declaration of war against Iraqi people that will burn what remains of Iraq,” Abu Ali al-Askari, spokesman for Kataib Hezbollah, which is part of the PMU, tweeted March 2nd.
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