alarabiya – Three out of five rockets fired on Sunday directly hit the US embassy in Iraq’s capital, a security source told AFP, including one that slammed into a cafe at dinner time.
Iraq’s security forces had earlier reported no casualties.
The diplomatic mission, which lies in Baghdad’s high-security Green Zone, has been regularly hit by rockets in recent months.
Sunday’s attack took place earlier in the day than usual and it was the first time a direct hit was reported.
The Green Zone houses government buildings and foreign missions.
Earlier, US sources revealed that rockets fell inside the embassy’s compound in Baghdad, Al Arabiya correspondent in Washington reported.
Baghdad is in the throes of mass anti-government protests.
AFP reporters heard loud thuds emanating from the western bank of the Tigris, where most foreign embassies are located.
One security source said three Katyusha rockets hit near the high-security compound while another said as many as five struck the area.
Later Iraq’s security forces said in a statement that five rockets hit the high-security Green Zone with no casualties. It did not mention the US embassy.
Iraqi Prime Minister Adil Abdul Mahdi deplored on Sunday the continued targeting of diplomatic missions
In a statement carried by the state-run television, Abdul Mahdi, in his first comments on the attack targeting the Green Zone which houses government buildings and foreign missions, said that “the continued irresponsible, unilateral behavior harms the higher interests of the country and its relations with its friends.”
“The government confirms its commitment to protect all diplomatic missions and take all necessary measures to achieve this,” he said.
Iraq’s Speaker of Parliament Mohammed al-Halbousi said on Sunday that the attack on the US embassy in Baghdad hurts the country’s reputation.
US Ambassador Matthew Tueller condemned the attack on his country’s embassy in Baghdad.
The rocket fire comes two day after thousands massed in Baghdad in response to a call by populist cleric Moqtada al-Sadr for a rally to demand the ouster of US troops from Iraq.
America’s military presence has been a hot-button issue in Iraq since a US strike killed Iranian general Qassim Soleimani and a top Iraqi commander outside Baghdad airport on January 3.
Around 5,200 US troops are in Iraq to lead a global coalition fighting ISIS, but Iraq said the strike against Soleimani violated that mandate.
Sunday’s attack was the latest in a series of rocket fire this month targeting the Green Zone, where the Iraqi parliament is also located.
The parliament earlier this month urged the departure of US troops from Iraq, which has been gripped by anti-government protests since October.