Late on Sunday night, several projectiles landed next to the ‘green zone’ in the Iraqi capital city of Baghdad, where the US embassy and various Iraqi government buildings are located. The attack occurred less than a week after a previous shelling hit the heavily-fortified area.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in a Monday phone call with Iraqi Prime Minister Adil Abd al-Mahdi said that Sunday’s attack resulted in one injury and expressed “outrage at the continued assaults by Iran’s armed groups against US facilities in Iraq”, according to a statement issued by US Department of State.
“The Secretary underlined once again that these attacks demonstrate a wanton disregard for Iraqi sovereignty and a failure to rein in these dangerous armed groups. He appreciated Prime Minister Abd al-Mahdi’s commitment to strengthen security to protect American personnel and diplomatic facilities”, the statement said.
Pompeo on Monday in a separate statement tweeted that the recent strike was “a flagrant attack on Iraq’s sovereignty”, calling on Iraqi authorities to secure the American diplomatic mission.
Adil Abdul-Mahdi announced earlier that he had ordered the perpetrators to be found and punished. Mohammed Halboosi, the speaker of the Iraqi parliament, noted that the continuous rocket attacks on the US Embassy have hurt the country’s reputation and sovereignty.
Earlier this month, the Iraqi parliament voted to expel coalition forces over a US drone attack that killed Iranian commander Qasem Soleimani near the Baghdad airport.
American officials have, however, repeatedly ruled out a complete pullback from Iraq. White House National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien said earlier in the month that the United States would leave on its own terms.
The US-led coalition reportedly resumed earlier joint operations with the Iraqi military after a halt amid heightened regional tensions that sparked when pro-Iranian militias attacked the US embassy in Baghdad.
Tensions between Iran and the US boiled over earlier in January when a US drone strike – at the behest of US President Donald Trump – assassinated a top Iranian commander in Baghdad, prompting Tehran to hit two Iraqi bases hosting US troops. The Pentagon said 34 troops suffered what it described as “brain” injuries.