US says Iranian-backed militias ‘virtually actually’ behind latest rocket assault close to US embassy in Baghdad

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Captain William City, the CENTCOM spokesman, stated the 21 rocket assault was the most important rocket assault since 2010 on the realm in central Baghdad, often known as the Inexperienced Zone.

“Whereas this 21 rocket assault induced no US accidents or casualties, the assault did harm buildings within the US Embassy compound, and was clearly NOT supposed to keep away from casualties,” City stated in an announcement.

CENTCOM oversees US troops within the Center East and Central Asia.

“These teams are Iranian-backed as a result of Iran offers each materials help and path. They’re rogue as a result of they’re truly performing on behalf of Iranian pursuits and path in a direct betrayal of Iraqi sovereignty,” City stated.

The rockets fired into Baghdad’s Worldwide Zone on Sunday broken buildings and automobiles in a residential space close to the US Embassy, which stated the assault “resulted in engagement of Embassy defensive programs” and that the compound suffered slight harm, however no embassy personnel have been injured.

The Iraqi army stated one Iraqi soldier was injured when a rocket landed close to a safety checkpoint.

‘Strongly condemns’

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo stated Sunday the US “strongly condemns” the assault and in addition blamed militias affiliated with Iran.

CNN has beforehand reported that the US army has been monitoring intelligence for the previous couple of weeks concerning the elevated threats from Iranian-backed militias inside Iraq.

Some US officers have expressed concern that Iran might mark the January 3 anniversary of the US killing of Basic Qasem Soleimani by finishing up a retaliatory strike.

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On Monday, the US Navy took the bizarre step of publicly asserting the nuclear-powered guided-missile submarine USS Georgia transited the Strait of Hormuz, accompanied by two extra American warships.

The US Navy hardly ever discusses the motion of its submarines, however Monday’s announcement additionally included particulars on the vessel’s capabilities, together with its “potential to hold as much as 154 Tomahawk land-attack cruise missiles.”

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The CENTCOM assertion adopted a White Home assembly earlier Wednesday the place officers mentioned latest Iranian threats, significantly towards the US embassy in Baghdad, and choices have been mentioned, an administration official instructed CNN.

The usual choice of hanging again at launch websites stays on the desk, officers stated, however no kinetic choices have been accepted. As a substitute, talks targeted on elevated efforts on the diplomatic entrance and public messaging, the administration supply stated.

Later Wednesday, President Donald Trump used Twitter to ship a few of that public messaging within the type of a risk to Tehran, writing that he was providing “some pleasant well being recommendation to Iran: If one American is killed, I’ll maintain Iran accountable. Assume it over.”

In contrast to the statements from CENTCOM and Pompeo, which attributed the assault to Iran-backed militias, Trump accused Tehran immediately.

“Our embassy in Baghdad acquired hit Sunday by a number of rockets,” Trump wrote from aboard Air Pressure One. “Three rockets didn’t launch. Guess the place they have been from: IRAN.”

The President added that the US was listening to “chatter” of extra assaults in opposition to People in Iraq.

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On Monday, a spokesman for Iran’s overseas ministry denied Iran was behind the Sunday rocket barrage, saying that the Iranian embassy is in the identical space and noting that “attacking any diplomatic missions and residential areas is incorrect and banned by worldwide regulation.”

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