U.S. Embassy in Baghdad Green Zone Hit by Three Rockets, Injuries Reported

Three rockets slammed into the U.S. embassy in Baghdad on Sunday night, wounding at least one person within the heavily fortified Green Zone, according to CNN. Reuters reported as many as three people were wounded.

The attack, the fourth in January alone, is the first this month to have caused injuries to personnel. CNN reported that the injuries were minor and at least one person affected returned to duty shortly afterwards.

A senior Iraqi official told the Agence France-Presse (AFP) that one rocket hit the embassy cafeteria. The other rockets landed nearby.

No one has claimed the attack, but U.S. officials told Newsweek it was likely the responsibility lay with Iran-backed militias, which have called for the ousting of American forces from Iraq and the greater region.

Earlier on Sunday, security forces cracked down on anti-government protestors in the Iraqi capital.

Sunday's attack is the latest incident in a tumultuous period marked with mass protests, led by the country's youth angered by both the Iraqi central government and the ongoing American intervention.

Since October 2019, protesters in Iraq voiced outrage at widespread unemployment and pervasive corruption. On December 31, demonstrators stormed the compound walls and burned a reception area, although no one breached inner embassy walls and no injuries were reported. Iran and U.S. forces have traded blows after a U.S. base in the northern semi-autonomous region of Kurdistan was attacked and an American security contractor was killed. The U.S. then launched a counterattack against Kateb Hezbollah, an Iran-backed militia part of the broader Iraqi military, in Anbar Province.

A week later a U.S. drone strike killed Iranian general Qassem Suleimani along Baghdad Airport Road, a symbolic 7.5 mile stretch of road where many American troops died in the Iraq War, prompting a tense stand-off that many feared would escalate into an all-out war. Iranian forces responded by attacking American bases in Iraq with ballistic missiles, although ample warning was given to the Iraqi government and no serious injuries were caused.

More than 600 protestors are believed to have died in the recent protests across the country. Religious and government leaders across the country have stoked the uprising, encouraging protestors to voice their discontent as officials in both the U.S. and Iran seek to deescalate confrontations.

Influential Shia cleric Moqtada al-Sadr, who had supported the youth uprising since October, has declared over the weekend via his Twitter page that he will stop interfering with the protests, even as he re-iterated his call for the removal of American forces from Iraq, Reuters reported.