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Two rockets hit Iraqi capital’s Green Zone: security sources

An image grab from footage obtained from the state-run Iran Press news agency on January 8, 2020 allegedly shows rockets launched from the Islamic republic against the US military base in Ein-al Asad in Iraq the prevous night.

An image grab from footage obtained from the state-run Iran Press news agency on January 8, 2020 allegedly shows rockets launched from the Islamic republic against the US military base in Ein-al Asad in Iraq the prevous night.   | Photo Credit: AFP

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The attack came nearly 24 hours after Tehran launched ballistic missiles at Iraqi bases housing American and other coalition forces

Two rockets crashed late Wednesday into the Iraqi capital's Green Zone, the high-security enclave where foreign embassies including the U.S.mission are based, security sources told AFP.

Just before midnight, AFP correspondents in Baghdad heard two loud blasts followed by the wailing security sirens of the Green Zone.

The attack came nearly 24 hours after Tehran launched ballistic missiles at Iraqi bases housing American and other coalition forces, which did not cause casualties. 

The strikes were in retaliation for a U.S. drone strike that killed top Iranian general Qasem Soleimani and Iraqi commander Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis last week. 

Muhandis had been the deputy head of the Hashed al-Shaabi, a web of armed groups incorporated into the Iraqi state but which also have close ties to Tehran.

The United States had accused Hashed groups of being behind a string of rocket attacks on the U.S. embassy in Baghdad and bases hosting American troops across the country. 

On Wednesday, the Hashed's hardline factions vowed they, too, would take revenge for the U.S. raid.

Paramilitary chief Qais al-Khazali -- blacklisted as a "terrorist" by the U.S. -- said Iraq's response to the U.S. "will be no less than the size of the Iranian response."

Harakat al-Nujaba, a hardline Hashed faction, vowed to avenge Muhandis.

"To American soldiers: Do not close your eyes. Revenge for the martyr Muhandis is coming at the hands of Iraqis -- until the last soldier among you leaves," it said.

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Printable version | Jan 18, 2020 5:21:58 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/international/two-rockets-hit-iraqi-capitals-green-zone-security-sources/article30518988.ece

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