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16 Feb, 2020 00:51

US-led coalition military base 'impacted' after multiple rockets fired at Baghdad's Green Zone

US-led coalition military base 'impacted' after multiple rockets fired at Baghdad's Green Zone

The US-led coalition has confirmed its base in Iraq was hit after the heavily fortified Green Zone came under rocket fire on Saturday night, with multiple blasts reported in the vicinity of the US Embassy.

The US-led coalition says its base in Baghdad was “impacted” by “small rockets” around 3:24am local time. An investigation into the incident is underway, it added.

The attack did not result in any casualties, Col. Myles Caggins, spokesman for Combined Joint Task Force-Operation Resolve (CJTF-OIR), stated on Twitter, without providing any details.

The explosions allegedly rocked Union III coalition base which sits just across the street from the diplomatic compound.

It is unclear if the attack caused any damage to the facility.

Early reports indicated that at least four blasts struck the area, prompting rocket alarms to be activated.

Multiple videos have circulated online with air raid sirens blaring in the Iraqi capital early Sunday morning local time.

“Sirens went on and Jets are flying over the area,” Mustafa Salim, a Baghdad-based reporter for the Washington Post, tweeted.

Footage has also emerged online purportedly showing a black pillar of smoke billowing from the neighborhood of Zayouna in eastern Baghdad in the wake of reports that several missiles targeted the Green Zone area.

There have been unconfirmed reports that the smoke was rising near the HQ of the Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF), a state-sponsored umbrella group of over 40 militias.

It’s unclear if the PMF offices have been hit.

The reported attack comes amid heightened tensions in the region that were exacerbated by a recent flare-up between Iran and the US. The showdown that saw Washington assassinating a top Iranian general in a drone strike on January 3 was preceded by an attack that killed a US contractor at K-1 base hosting US troops outside Kirkuk, Iraq on December 27.

The US pinned the blame for the attack on Kataib Hezbollah and bombed out the group’s positions, killing at least 25 fighters. Militia members and locals then organized a siege of the US Embassy in Baghdad, setting checkpoints on fire in an attempt to break into the heavily fortified compound.

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The killing of Iranian Quds Force commander Qassem Soleimani, which the White House now says was in retaliation for "an escalating series of attacks in preceding months," also drove a wedge between Baghdad and Washington, with Iraqi lawmakers subsequently voting to kick US troops out of the country. 

While the Iraqi government has yet to follow through on the threat, NATO has vowed to expand its training operations in Iraq, which were brought to a halt following Soleimani’s assassination.

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