January 26, 2020
New Rocket Attack Slams U.S. Embassy In Iraq, Reports Say, Iranian Militia Blamed For Multiple Missile Strikes

Less than three weeks after an Iranian missile attack slammed into two Iraq military bases, injuring 34 United States service members, reports out of the Middle East say that at least three rockets slammed into the U.S. embassy in Baghdad, Iraq, on Sunday.

According to a report posted on Twitter, Saudi Arabia's Al Arabiya television network reported that there were "injuries" in the rocket attack, but the report did not specify any number of the alleged injuries, or who might have been injured.

Other reports state that five rockets landed inside the U.S. embassy compound, but no casualties were reported, according to a statement by the Iraqi military communications center, as quoted by the Kurdish news site Kurdistan 24.

Iraq's former foreign affairs minister, Hoshyar Zebari, quickly placed blame for the attacks on the Iraq-based militia group known as the Popular Mobilization Forces, or PMF, which is strongly linked to the Iranian government.

"This is a very dangerous game by #PMF uncontrolled factions to galvanize the tense situation," Zebari wrote in a tweet, quoted by Kurdistan 24. The Iraqi politician, who is Kurdish, claimed in the tweet that at least one rocket scored a direct hit on the embassy and that the facility's "restaurant or canteen was damaged and burned."

Anti-war protesters hold signs.
Getty Images | Samuel Corum
Anti-war protestors stand outside of the White House.

The U.S. Joint Operations Command said that five rockets struck a "river bank" near the embassy, without causing any injuries, according to a report by the Qatari news agency Al Jazeera.

But the Al Jazeera report also said that the France-based news service AFP reported that three of the five rockets "directly hit the US embassy," including one that struck "a cafe at dinner time."

The rocket attack came amid widespread protests in Baghdad against the presence of U.S. troops in Iraq. According to Al Jazeera, one demonstrator was killed and more than 100 injured in the protests on Sunday, which were sparked by the slaying of top Iranian military leader Qassem Soleimani, who died in a targeted U.S. drone strike on January 2. Donald Trump acknowledged that he directly ordered the killing of Soleimani.

After the initial wave of protests subsided, the demonstrations resumed earlier this week. Since Saturday, 12 people have died in the protests, according to the Al Jazeera report. Even before the killing of Soleimani, anti-government protests had swept Iraq with 500 demonstrators killed since October.

As of 5:30 p.m. EST, Trump had not yet commented publicly on the reported Sunday rocket attacks. After the January 8 Iranian rocket attacks, Trump took to Twitter to declare, "All is well!" and "So far so good!"