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Three rockets hit near US embassy in Iraq capital, no casualties

17:24 | 16/02/2020

Multiple rockets hit an Iraqi base hosting American troops near the US embassy early Sunday (Feb 16), the latest in a flurry of attacks against US assets in the country, reported AFP.

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A general view shows the US embassy across the Tigris river in Iraq's capital Baghdad. (AHMAD AL-RUBAYE / AFP)

"The Coalition confirms small rockets impacted the Iraqi base hosting (coalition) troops in the International Zone ... No casualties," said coalition spokesman Myles Caggins. No further details are provided.

That base, known as Union III, is the headquarters for the US-led coalition, deployed in Iraq since 2014 to help local troops fight the Islamic State jihadist group.

Iraq's military said three Katyusha rockets hit inside the Green Zone, the high-security enclave where the US mission and Union III are located, as well as Iraqi government buildings, United Nations offices and other embassies.

A fourth rocket hit a logistics base in a different neighbourhood operated by the Hashed al-Shaabi, a military network officially incorporated into the Iraqi state, the Iraqi military said.

There was no immediate statement from the Hashed.

Sunday's was the 19th attack since October to target either the embassy or the roughly 5,200 US troops stationed alongside local forces across Iraq.

No group has claimed responsibility for any of the incidents.

An attack last month hit the US Embassy compound itself, and a rocket attack on a military base in the north in December killed a US civilian contractor.

There have been no claims for the attacks.

Sunday's attack came just hours after one of the Hashed's Iran-backed factions, Harakat al-Nujaba, announced a "countdown" to ousting American forces from the country.

A top leader within Nujaba, Nasr al-Shammary, tweeted a photograph of what he claimed was an American military vehicle, adding: "We are closer than you think."

Sunday's assault sent warning sirens blaring across the diplomatic compound, a US military source and a Western diplomat based nearby told AFP.

AFP's correspondents heard multiple strong explosions followed by aircraft circling near the Green Zone./.

VNF/AFP/Reuters