Iraq: two rockets target residential area near Green Zone, no injuries

US diplomats and troops across Iraq have been targeted in dozens of missile attacks blamed by Washington on pro-Iranian armed factions

Anti-government protesters take cover while Iraqi security forces, back, fire tear gas and close the bridge leading to the Green Zone, during a demonstration at sunset in Baghdad, Iraq, Sunday, Oct. 27, 2019. Protests have resumed in Iraq after a wave of anti-government protests earlier this month were violently put down. (AP Photo/Khalid Mohammed)

Two rockets landed in a residential area near Baghdad's Green Zone overnight but did not explode, security forces said on Monday.

American diplomats and troops across Iraq have been targeted in dozens of missile attacks blamed by Washington on pro-Iranian armed factions in recent months.

"Terrorist groups have once again targeted residential areas by launching two Katyusha rockets early Monday from Al Jihad neighbourhood," security forces said.

The first rocket landed near Babel Hotel, which usually hosts government meetings and conferences.

The second rocket landed near the Iraqi Airways building in Baghdad's Al Jadriya area. A vehicle was set on fire but no causalities were reported, it said.

Concerns have been raised globally about the safety of Iraqi civilians after a Katyusha rocket attack struck a residential home killing six people – all of them women and children – last Monday.

Security officials believe the attack was intended to target the airport nearby, where US troops are based.

Initially, five of the family members were reported to have been killed, but one child died of severe wounds overnight.

Washington called on the government to take action after the attack.

“We are outraged by yesterday’s rocket attack in Baghdad that killed civilians, including a mother and her children,” State Department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus said.

The following day a roadside bomb targeted a convoy carrying materials for the US-led coalition in Babylon province, south of Baghdad, a military statement said.

There were no casualties.

Reports emerged that Washington warned Baghdad it would close its embassy in the capital until the government reins in Iran-backed armed groups.

Iraq is caught in a tug-of-war between its two main allies Iran and the US – arch-enemies whose relations have crumbled since Washington pulled out of a nuclear deal with Tehran in 2018.

Ties between the two deteriorated even further after a US missile killed top Iranian general, Qassem Suleimani and Iraqi militia leader Abu Mahdi Al Muhandis in Baghdad earlier this year.

Baghdad carefully balances its ties with the two countries, but the repeated rocket attacks risk rocking the tightrope it walks between the two.

The US blames the attacks on Kataib Hezbollah, a Tehran-backed faction within Iraq's state-sponsored network of armed units known as the Popular Mobilisation Forces.