On May 19th, a Katyusha rocket hit near the US Embassy in Baghdad, in the fortified “Green Zone” within the Iraqi capital, the Iraqi military said in a statement.
BREAKING: Katyusha shelling on #Iraq Green Zone in Baghdad + blast in area near foreign embassies.
— Joyce Karam (@Joyce_Karam) May 19, 2019
?This a major escalation, at 8:29 PM a rocket was launched toward the Green Zone and the vicinity of the U.S Embassy from (Jisr al Amana ) neighborhood in Baghdad.
— Steven nabil (@thestevennabil) May 19, 2019
There were no casualties or losses as a result of the presumed attack.
Iraqi military spokesman Brig. Gen. Yahya Rasoul told The Associated Press that a Katyusha rocket fell near the statue of the Unknown Soldier, less than a mile from the U.S. Embassy. He said the military was investigating the cause but that the rocket was believed to have been fired from east Baghdad. The area is home to Iran-backed Shiite militias.
A spokesman for U.S. Central Command, Bill Urban, said in a statement that Iraqi Security Forces are investigating the incident.
The rocket conveniently hit after all but critical staff were evacuated from Iraq just days earlier, due to expectations of an attack of some sort by Iran.
The US State Department was in close contact with Iraqi officials about the incident and investigations into its circumstances, the official said, adding that the “low-grade rocket” did not cause significant damage or impact any US-inhabited facilities.
Reuters cited an unnamed State Department official who said that no responsibility had been claimed, but Iran was blamed.
“But, we take this incident very seriously,” the State Department official said. “We will hold Iran responsible if any such attacks are conducted by its proxy militia forces or elements of such forces, and will respond to Iran accordingly.”
US President Donald Trump tweeted with an open threat to Iran, just hours after the alleged attack in Baghdad.
If Iran wants to fight, that will be the official end of Iran. Never threaten the United States again!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 19, 2019
In addition to US personnel being evacuated from Iran, on May 18th, Exxon Mobil also began evacuating from the southern Iraqi province of Basra.
Iraqi Oil Minister Thamer al-Ghadban said in a statement that he sent a letter to ExxonMobil asking for clarifications over the evacuation, saying the evacuation was because of “political tensions in the region” and not related to security.
He added that the evacuation of the oil giant’s foreign employees was “unacceptable and unjustified.” Al-Ghadban said he would be holding a meeting with ExxonMobil executives this week over the evacuation, adding that their departure was “temporary.”
The alleged rocket attack on the US Embassy in Baghdad is a rather obvious attempt at justifying recent US actions and reinforcing the narrative of Iran’s “evil plans.”
And if Iran did, in fact, want to carry out a dangerous attack, why would it do so on almost completely empty premises, days after discovering that the US had withdrawn its personnel?
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- Iran Calls Tanker Sabotage Off UAE A “False Flag”, Says It Expected Such Actions