C-Ram Intercepts One Rocket While Another Lands In Civilian Neighborhood

Two Katyusha rockets were fired towards the Green Zone where the US embassy is located in Baghdad on Saturday night, according to Iraq’s state-run news service quoting Iraqi security officials.

The U.S. Embassy’s C-RAM defense system was activated to intercept the rocket fire. One rocket was intercepted and destroyed, while a second rocket fell near the Grand Festivities Square near the Green Zone, causing damage to two civilian vehicles. There were no reports of casualties.

Iraqi security forces have started an investigation as to who was responsible for the latest attack on the U.S. Embassy. 

While no group has yet taken responsibility for the rocket attack, Iranian-backed proxy militias have conducted dozens of attacks against U.S. bases, the embassy, and other American presence in the region. 

File photo from January 2020, as U.S. troops watch over the U.S. Embassy compound in Baghdad, Iraq. Department of Defense photo

The US Embassy Is The Target Of Repeated Attacks

In early November, Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi was targeted with a drone attack, which targeted his official residence, also in the Green Zone. The Iranian-backed militias were also reportedly behind this attack after the militias were the biggest losers in the October elections.

The same militias have demanded that the United States withdraw all of their military forces from Iraq by the first of January. The militias have called for volunteers for jihad and have threatened to attack US forces in Iraq and Syria if they stay after December 31. The U.S. base at al-Tanf, Syria was attacked by drones last week. That attack was also believed to have been conducted by pro-Iranian proxy militias from Iraq. 

The US-led coalition conducting Operation Inherent Resolve in Iraq announced on December 9 that its combat role was completed, and the remaining 2,500 American and 1,000 coalition troops in Iraq would now transition to a non-combat advisory role, as they’ll be training, advising, and equipping Iraqi forces. However, the Pentagon has confirmed that the U.S. will continue to conduct airstrikes in support of Iraqi forces.

Besides the December 31 deadline imposed by the militias, the U.S. forces in the region are very much aware of the 2nd anniversary of the death of General Qasem Soleimani – commander of the Quds Force, a branch of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), along with Iraqi militia commander Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis. 

The pair were targeted for assassination by U.S. forces and approved by then-President Donald Trump on January 3, 2020, as Soleimani landed at Baghdad International Airport. His vehicle was hit with a Hellfire missile, killing him and al-Muhandis.