Early Tuesday morning, a rocket hit near the US embassy in Baghdad, security sources told AFP, the first in weeks to land in the high-security region. The explosion hears in the Iraqi capital and causes security sirens in the compound of the U.S. embassy but did not cause injuries, sources reported. No immediate assertion of guilt has been made.
This follows more than two dozen direct assaults on American interests in Iraq since October that the US has blamed Iraq’s security forces on Iran-backed militias. The rocket volleys, which killed U.S., British and Iraqi military personnel, have deeply damaged relations between Washington and Baghdad.
Tensions reached a boiling point in January when in a drone strike on Baghdad. The US killed Iranian General Qasem Soleimani and Iraqi commander Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis. Yet, after Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhemi took the helm earlier this month. The US and Iraq have hoped to repair the relationship, with bilateral talks scheduled for June.
It hops that the talks would establish a basis for the participation of U.S. forces. It deploys to Iraq in 2014 to lead a coalition fighting against the Islamic State group. But the powers are a thorn in Iran’s side. Also, its Iraqi allies who have insisted they are leaving the region.
The US-led coalition has already pulled down its 7,500-strong force in Iraq this year. It cites a reduced IS threat and difficulties training Iraqi army due to coronavirus spread.