Iraq rocket attack: child killed as missiles hit US embassy in Baghdad

At least one child killed and several wounded in attack on capital city’s fortified zone

A picture taken on November 24, 2018, shows one of the entrances to Baghdad's fortified Green Zone. The partial reopening of Baghdad's high-security Green Zone to through traffic that was planned for Sunday has been postponed for several days, a government official told AFP. / AFP / AHMAD AL-RUBAYE

At least seven rockets struck Baghdad’s fortified Green Zone on Tuesday night with the city’s US embassy thought to be the target.

Sirens wailed from inside the building followed by shooting from the C-RAM defence system installed by the US Army to protect the embassy and nearby small military base.

Four of the rockets landed inside the Green Zone where key government offices and western diplomatic missions are located, according to Iraqi officials.

One of the rockets hit Baghdad’s Medical City, another landed near Zawra Park and the last was intercepted, the government said.

One child was killed and five civilians were wounded, it said. No group immediately claimed responsibility for the attack.

Tensions have heightened since late last year when the US accused Iran-backed Shiite militias of attacking Iraqi military bases hosting American troops.

The attacks prompted the US to launch strikes against militias inside Iraq and Syria.

Earlier this year, a US drone strike killed Iran’s top military commander, Qassem Suleimani, after he landed at Baghdad airport with influential Iraqi militia leader Abu Mahdi Al Muhandis.

Shiites inside Parliament then pushed for a decision to evict US troops from the country. Sunnis and Kurds did not endorse the move, however, saying Iraq still relied upon the US military for training its troops and to help chase down remaining ISIS fighter.

Since then, militias have been staging sporadic rocket and bomb attacks on US troops, the US embassy and convoys supplying international coalition bases.

In late September, the US said it would reduce its troop numbers in Iraq from about 5,200 to 3,000, leaving behind advisers to assist Iraqi security forces in dealing with the remnants of ISIS.

And outgoing US President Donald Trump will give the order to military officials this week to begin pulling troops out of Iraq and Afghanistan, scaling forces down to 2,500 in both countries before the end of the year.