On Monday Baghdad’s heavily fortified Green Zone was targeted with at least two, and possibly three, rockets. The rockets were fired against the United States Embassy, however, they only caused minor property damage, including one destroyed vehicle, without causing any casualties, Iraqi army officials said.
The rockets were launched from the Salam area of Baghdad, a statement from the military said. The rocket launchers used have been located.
The Green Zone hosts embassies, including the U.S. Embassy, and Iraqi government buildings. It is regularly targeted by Iranian-controlled Iraqi militias.
However, while Washington said that the United States will hold Iran “responsible” for the rocket attack that targeted the U.S. Embassy, which is technically U.S. soil, it won’t “lash out” in response, according to State Department spokesman Ned Price on Monday.
“We have stated before that we will hold Iran responsible for the actions of its proxies that attack Americans. […] I can add that the rockets fired in recent attacks on the coalition and citizens of Iraq, including this attack I referenced, are Iranian-made and Iranian-supplied,” he said.
“When it comes to our response, we will respond in a way that’s calculated, within our own timetable, and using a mix of tools at a time and place of our choosing, as you’ve heard me say before. What we will not do is lash out and risk an escalation that plays into the hands of Iran and contributes to their attempts to further destabilize Iraq,” Price added.
No one immediately claimed responsibility for the attack.
This was the third attack against American interests in Iraq in a week. Last Tuesday, a U.S.-led coalition contractor was killed and other civilians were wounded in a rocket attack outside Erbil at the Balad airbase. Balad is where the U.S. defense contractor Sallyport has a presence to provide support for Iraq’s U.S.-made F-16 aircraft. A Shiite militant group calling itself the Guardians of Blood Brigade, which has close ties to Iran, claimed responsibility for the attack.
Pentagon spokesperson John Kirby on Monday said that Washington’s view on Tehran’s activities is “perfectly clear.” But he didn’t answer a question about whether Washington would communicate to Tehran that killing an American is a red line, as the Trump administration had. “It’s difficult to say with certainty… whether there’s a strategic calculation driving this recent uptick in attacks, or whether this is just a continuation of the sorts of attacks we’ve seen in the past,” Kirby told reporters.
“These are dangerous attacks, and as we saw in the one in Irbil, an individual lost his life, and now a family is grieving.”