Iraqi forces thwart attack on Taji camp, but child injured by rocket fired at US Embassy
BAGHDAD – The Iraqi military said on Sunday that a rocket targeting the walled Green Zone of Baghdad, the seat of the US embassy, ââhit a residential house and injured a child.
Iraqi officials said the Embassy’s recently installed C-RAM air defense system may have attempted to intercept the rocket while the system was operational on Saturday evening. A recent wave of rocket attacks hit near the US Embassy and targeted US troops at Iraqi bases. Officials spoke on condition of anonymity in accordance with regulations.
The rocket was launched Saturday evening from the Ali Al-Saleh neighborhood of Baghdad and landed next to a house near a local television station, the military statement said. A child was injured in the head and the house was damaged.
Iraqi security forces say they have also foiled another attack north of Baghdad in the Umm al-Azam area aimed at striking Camp Taji, a training base used by US-led coalition forces .
In March, two Americans and a British soldier were killed as a result of rocket fire at Camp Taji.
The latest surge in attacks comes shortly before Iraq embarks on strategic talks with the United States in which the presence of American forces in the country is expected to be high on the agenda.
The United States has criticized the Iraqi federal government for its inability to rule over the Iranian-backed militias that it says is orchestrating the attacks. Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi has pledged to protect US facilities from attack, US officials have said.
Last week, Iraqi security forces raided the headquarters of powerful Iranian-backed paramilitary Kataib Hezbollah and arrested 14 men suspected of being responsible for rocket attacks targeting the Green Zone. Thirteen detainees were subsequently released and one remains in detention.
The move drew praise from the United States but condemnation from Iranian-backed political factions in Iraq.
The US embassy began testing the new air defense system on Saturday evening, Iraqi officials said. He was condemned by Deputy Speaker of Parliament Hassan al-Kaabi, who called on the government to take action against this “illegal” decision which “would provoke the Iraqi people“, according to a government statement.
Associated Press writer Qassim Abdul-Zahra in Baghdad contributed to this report.