Pentagon & Congress

Rocket attack hits near US Embassy in Baghdad’s Green Zone

Two rockets landed near the U.S. embassy in Baghdad, Iraq, on Monday as tensions with Iran continue to mount.

Coalition forces in Iraq said in a statement early Tuesday morning it would not tolerate attacks on its forces or facilitates, and that it would defend itself.

No group has claimed responsibility for the attack, but Iran and its extensive network of Shiite militias and proxies are often the target of blame.

The coalition heading up Operation Inherent Resolve — the U.S. led mission to defeat ISIS in Iraq and Syria — said in a statement that no coalition or U.S. facilities were struck and that they were taking the incident seriously.

“We are thankful for the Iraqi Security Forces rapid response and protection of Coalition Forces in Baghdad,” said Army Col. Myles B. Caggins, a coalition spokesman in a statement. "We have made clear that attacks on Coalition personnel and facilities will not be tolerated and Coalition Forces retain the right to defend ourselves. "

In May, OIR said it saw an increase in rocket or mortar attacks across Iraq. At that time, tensions in the region were at a boil as the U.S. fingered Iran for attacks on oil tankers operating in the Gulf region in May and June.

On May 19, a Katyusha rocket landed less than a mile from the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad.

The attacks bear the hallmark of Iran’s signature strategy — the use of proxy and militia forces that often complicate assigning blame to the country.

“Quite literally, nearly every Iraqi Shia militia controlled or backed by Iran has some section that is near Baghdad,” Phillip Smyth, a research fellow with the Washington Institute, told Military Times.

Monday’s rocket attack follows President Donald Trump’s decision to deploy a small number air and missile defense troops to Saudi Arabia.

The decision by Trump to bolster missile batteries in Saudi Arabia followed an attack on two Saudi oil facilities on Sept. 14 that caused oil production to plummet nearly in half.

Iran-backed Houthi rebels claimed responsibility for the attack. But on Monday, Britain, France and Germany joined the U.S. in blaming Iran for the attacks, according to the Associated Press.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

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