US Baghdad Embassy’s air defense system tested by attack hours after installation

The attacks follow more than two dozen similar ones against U.S. interests in Iraq since October.

By Josh Plank, World Israel News

Air defense systems intercepted a rocket targeting the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad on Saturday night, according to a report by Al Arabiya.

“The missile that was intercepted by the American Embassy in Baghdad fell near a number of sit-in protesters close to the Green Zone area. It landed close to the bridge leading to the Green Zone itself,” said Al Arabiya’s correspondent, Majid Hamid.

In another attack, a Katyusha rocket launched from the Ali al-Saleh area in Baghdad toward the Green Zone, home to the U.S. Embassy, injured a child and damaged a house on Sunday after it landed to the south of its target, according to an Iraqi Security Media Cell statement.

The attacks follow more than two dozen similar attacks against U.S. interests in Iraq since October. The U.S. has blamed the incidents on Kataib Hezbollah, an Iranian-backed Shiite militia operating in Iraq.

The latest attacks came hours after the U.S. Embassy reportedly conducted tests of an air defense system capable of destroying incoming rockets, artillery, and mortar rounds.

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“The Americans’ new measure in testing a missile system [in Baghdad] was a highly provocative move,” Mohammad Reza Al-Haidar, head of the Iraqi parliament’s security and defense committee said on Sunday, according to Iran’s Mehr news agency.

“Firing a [missile] system inside embassies is completely unacceptable,” he said, adding, “It is not logical to turn the embassies inside the Green Zone into garrisons.”

Al-Haidar called on Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi to take swift and appropriate measures to halt such actions.

On January 5, Iraq’s Parliament called for the expulsion of U.S. troops from the country in reaction to the U.S. airstrike that killed Iranian General Qassem Soleimani near Baghdad on January 3.

Soleimani’s assassination came just days after members of Kataib Hezbollah stormed the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad and set part of it on fire, causing the evacuation of the U.S. ambassador.