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Missiles hit US high-security enclave, troops’ Iraq base following Soleimani’s killing

Missiles hit US high-security enclave

BAGHDAD (AFP) – Two mortar rounds hit the Iraqi capital’s Green Zone Saturday and two rockets slammed into a base housing US troops, security sources said, a day after a deadly American strike.

The precision drone strike outside the Baghdad airport on Friday killed Iranian commander Qasem Soleimani, top Iraqi paramilitary chief Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis and a clutch of other Iranian and Iraqi figures.

In Baghdad, mortar rounds on Saturday evening hit the Green Zone, the high-security enclave where the US embassy is based, security sources said.

Related: After Qasem death, Iran appointed a new Quds force commander

The Iraqi military said that one projectile hit inside the zone, while another landed close to the enclave.

Sirens rang out at the US compound, sources there told AFP.

A pair of Katyusha rockets then hit the Balad airbase north of Baghdad, where American troops are based, security sources and the Iraqi military said.




Security sources there reported blaring sirens and said surveillance drones were sent above the base to locate the source of the rockets.

The US embassy in Baghdad as well as the 5,200 American troops stationed across the country have faced a spate of rocket attacks in recent months that Washington has blamed on Iran and its allies in Iraq.

One attack last month killed a US contractor working in northern Iraq, prompting retaliatory American air strikes that killed 25 hardline fighters close to Iran.

Tensions boiled over on Friday when the US struck Soleimani’s convoy as it drove out of the airport and US diplomats and troops across Iraq had been bracing themselves for more rocket attacks.

Related: Iran will avenge General Qasem’s assassination: Iranian Supreme Leader

Earlier, The U.S. has carried out a new air strike targeting a commander in Iraq’s Hashed al-Shaabi paramilitary force near camp Taji north of Baghdad on Saturday, killing at least six people and wounding several others, a day after an American drone strike killed Qassim Soleimani, a top Iranian general.

A new strike targeted a convoy belonging to the Hashed al-Shaabi, an Iraqi paramilitary network whose Shiite-majority factions have close ties to Iran, the group said in a statement. It did not say who was responsible but Iraqi state television reported it was a US air strike.

Two of the three vehicles making up a convoy were found burned, the source said, as well as six burned corpses. The strikes took place at 1:12 am local time, he said.

The attack comes less than 24 hours after the Americans killed Soleimani, the head of Iran s Quds Force and only hours after Donald Trump insisted that the US “took action last night to stop a war…. not to start a war.”

The airstrike came ahead of a planned a mourning march for Iranian Quds Force commander Qasem Soleimani and Iraqi paramilitary heavyweight Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, slain in a precision drone strike by the U.S.




The assassination was the most dramatic escalation yet in spiralling tensions between Iran and the US, which pledged to send more troops to the region even as US President Donald Trump insisted he did not want war.

The killing was the most dramatic escalation yet in spiralling tensions between the US and Iran, which Iraqis fear could play out in their homeland.

A police source told AFP the bombardment north of Baghdad left “dead and wounded,” without providing a specific toll. There was no immediate comment from the US.

The assassination of Soleimani, who had led the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps’ foreign operations branch and was Iran’s pointman on Iraq, rattled the region.

US officials said the 62-year-old, who had been blacklisted by the US, was killed when a drone hit his vehicle near Baghdad’s international airport.

A total of five Revolutionary Guards and five Hashed members were killed in the strike.

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