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Saturday, 4 January 2020

Rockets target Baghdad’s Green Zone, base housing US troops

Rockets target Baghdad’s Green Zone, base housing US troops

Green Zone attacked as rockets slam into base housing US troops a day after US strike that killed Iranian commander.

Several rockets fell inside Baghdad’s heavily fortified Green Zone, its Jadriya neighbourhood, and the Balad air base housing US troops on Saturday, the Iraqi military said.

Two mortar rounds hit the Green Zone and two rockets slammed into a base housing US troops on Saturday, a day after a deadly US strike killed Iranian commander Qasem Soleimani, top Iraqi paramilitary chief Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis and a clutch of other Iranian and Iraqi figures.

No casualties have been reported in any of the incidents.

The Green Zone is the high-security enclave where the US embassy is based.

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Al Jazeera’s Osama Bin Javaid, reporting from Baghdad, said none of the projectiles landed inside the US embassy.

“According to Iraqi security forces, the projectiles landed in the celebration areas inside the Green Zone,” he said.

A pair of Katyusha rockets then hit the Balad airbase north of Baghdad, where American troops are based, security sources and the Iraqi military said.

Security sources reported blaring sirens and said surveillance drones were sent above the base to locate the source of the rockets.

The US embassy in Baghdad, as well as the 5,200 American troops stationed across the country, have faced a spate of rocket attacks in recent months that Washington has blamed on Iran and its allies in Iraq.

Last month, one attack killed a US contractor working in northern Iraq, prompting retaliatory US air strikes that killed 25 fighters close to Iran.

Tensions boiled over on Friday when the US struck Soleimani’s convoy as it drove out of Baghdad airport, and US diplomats and troops across Iraq had been bracing themselves for more rocket attacks.

On Friday, Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Hosseini Khamenei saidSoleimani’s death would intensify Tehran’s resistance to the US and Israel.

Abu Hamzeh, the Revolutionary Guards commander in Kerman province, mentioned a series of possible targets for reprisals, including the Gulf waterway through which about a third of the world’s shipborne oil is exported to global markets.

SOURCE: AL JAZEERA AND NEWS AGENCIES

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