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Archive for Iraq

Newsline: Rocket attack on US embassy Baghdad

Media in Iraq reported sirens and a rocket attack on the US embassy in Baghdad in the first hours of Tuesday morning. Sirens were heard after 2 a.m. (https://www.jpost.com/middle-east/rocket-attack-on-us-embassy-baghdad-report-628504) Amman-based newspaper Al-Hadath said sirens had been heard at the large US embassy compound. Lebanon’s Akhbar media said a missile had been launched at the US embassy and Al-Ghad said that 3 rockets landed near the embassy. Al-Arabiya and other channels also reported the attack. Videos did not show the attack or the sirens. The attack comes after Iraqis stormed MBC media claiming it had included a program insulting the memory of Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, an Iraqi militia leader the US killed in January. This comes amid heightened US-Iran tensions.

Newsline: Iraq summons Turkish ambassador over deadly airstrikes

In a public show of disapproval, Iraq’s Foreign Ministry summoned the Turkish ambassador over deadly airstrikes carried out by Ankara against suspected militants in northern Iraq. In a statement on Twitter, Iraq’s Foreign Ministry said it summoned Ambassador Fatih Yildiz on Thursday because of a “Turkish army fighter plane violating Iraqi airspace, and bombing a refugee camp near [Makhmour] that claimed the lives of two women.” (https://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2020/04/iraq-summon-turkey-ambassador-pkk-airstrikes-kurdistan.html) News outlets in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq reported that one air attack killed three civilians near a refugee camp in the mountainous Makhmour region and another destroyed a shelter belonging to the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), an armed insurgent group, in the city of Rawanduz. Turkey made no mention of civilian casualties in its version of events, which said the Turkish fighter jets had “neutralized four PKK terrorists as part of a counterterrorism operation.” The National Defense Ministry also said the airstrikes occured in the Qandil region near the Iraq-Iran border, not Makhmour. During their meeting in Baghdad, Ambassador Yildiz told Iraqi officials his country would continue to exercise its “right to legitimate self-defense,” according to state-run Anadolu Agency. Yildiz also said Turkey’s military campaign in Iraq is in compliance with international law.

Newsline: US orders embassy personnel to leave Iraq

The State Department has ordered some US government employees at diplomatic facilities in Iraq to leave the country, the Embassy in Baghdad said on Thursday. The move came hours after two rockets hit the so-called Green Zone where most diplomatic buildings and compounds are located. “Designated” employees were ordered to leave the US Embassy and the diplomatic support centre in the Iraqi capital, as well as the US Consulate General in the northern city of Irbil, the capital of Iraqi Kurdistan. The alert was sent to all US citizens in the country. Security concerns and restricted travel options resulting from the global coronavirus pandemic were cited as the reasons for the pullout. (https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/20200327-us-orders-embassy-personnel-to-leave-iraq/) A second message issued minutes later said that diplomatic officials were working to find options for US citizens to leave “on the next available commercial flight opportunity”. The plans may be hit by global travel disruption caused by the coronavirus outbreak.

Newsline: U.S. Embassy in Baghdad Hit in Katyusha Rocket Attack

Five Katyusha rockets were fired at the fortified Green Zone in Baghdad Sunday night, one directly hitting the U.S. Embassy building, Iraq’s security forces reported. U.S. helicopters were seen evacuating injured people, al-Sumaria News reported, citing an anonymous security official. The State Department released a statement that did not comment on any injuries or deaths. But it noted there have been 14 attacks on U.S. personnel in Iraq since September. It also called on Iraq to “fulfill its obligations to protect our diplomatic facilities.” (https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2020-01-26/u-s-embassy-in-baghdad-hit-in-katyusha-rocket-attack) “The security situation remains tense and Iranian-backed armed groups remain a threat,” the statement read. “So we remain vigilant.” Attacks against the Green Zone and the U.S. embassy in Baghdad by Iran-linked militia groups have increased in recent months, especially after the U.S. airstrike earlier this month that killed Iran’s top commander Qassem Soleimani and Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, the head of Iran-backed militia Kataib Hezbollah.

Newsline: Suspect nabbed for killing of Turkish diplomat in Iraq

Turkish security forces on Jan. 21 nabbed a suspect allegedly linked to an armed attack that killed a Turkish diplomat in northern Iraq last July. He was arrested in a joint operation by the provincial police forces and the Turkish Intelligence Organization (MİT) in the southeastern border province of Şırnak as he attempted to cross to Turkey. (http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/turkey-nabs-suspect-over-killing-of-turkish-diplomat-in-erbil-151279) On July 17, Osman Köse, who was serving at Turkey’s Consulate General in Erbil, was killed in an armed attack at a restaurant. Apart from the diplomat, two Iraqi nationals sitting at a nearby table were also killed. In August, Turkish forces neutralized two PKK/YPG terrorists, who plotted the armed attack.

Newsline: Three rockets fall near US embassy in Iraq

Three rockets have fallen inside Baghdad’s Green Zone on Tuesday morning, close to the US embassy. A BBC reporter said alarms were sounding in the US embassy complex and speakers were telling those inside to take shelter. Iraqi police told Reuters that three Katyusha rockets fell inside the Green Zone, which houses government buildings and foreign missions. (https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/jan/20/three-rockets-fall-us-embassy-iraq-baghdad) The rockets were launched from the Zafaraniyah district outside Baghdad, the sources said, adding that two rockets landed near the US embassy.

Newsline: Poland evacuates its ambassador from Iraq

Following Iran’s attack on two U.S. bases in Iraq, Poland evacuated its ambassador in Iraq, according to Polish Foreign Minister Jacek Czaputowicz, local media reported. (https://www.aa.com.tr/en/europe/poland-evacuates-its-ambassador-from-iraq/1696661) Czaputowicz told Radio ZET that Beata Peksa, the Polish ambassador to Iraq, has been evacuated and returned to Poland It was also reported that the evacuation took place at the request of British diplomats, because the Polish embassy is located in the international zone of the British embassy’s premises.

Newsline: Iraqi foreign ministry will summon Tehran envoy over strikes

Iraq’s foreign ministry said on Wednesday it rejected Iran’s missile attack on Iraqi military bases housing U.S. troops and would summon Tehran’s ambassador in Baghdad to convey its protest. “The foreign ministry rejects these attacks and considers them a violation of Iraqi sovereignty,” it said in a statement. “It stresses that Iraq is an independent state and that its internal security is its priority. We will not allow it to become a battlefield. (https://www.reuters.com/article/us-iraq-security-diplomacy/iraqi-foreign-ministry-will-summon-tehran-envoy-over-strikes-statement-idUSKBN1Z72CJ) “The foreign ministry will summon the Islamic Republic of Iran’s ambassador and convey this to him.”

Newsline: U.S. accuses Russia, China of blocking U.N. statement on Baghdad embassy attack

The United States accused Russia and China on Monday of blocking a U.N. Security Council statement underscoring the inviolability of diplomatic and consular premises after a Dec. 31 attack on the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad. Such statements by the 15-member Security Council have to be agreed on by consensus. The U.S. mission to the United Nations said 27 countries spoke out against the attack on the Baghdad embassy “in stark contrast to the United Nations Security Council’s silence due to two permanent members – Russia and China – not allowing a statement to proceed.” (https://www.reuters.com/article/us-iraq-security-un-usa/us-accuses-russia-china-of-blocking-un-statement-on-baghdad-embassy-attack-idUSKBN1Z51I5) The U.N. ambassadors of Russia and China both dismissed the U.S. accusation on Monday, saying they condemn any attacks on diplomatic premises around the world. Militiamen and their supporters protesting deadly U.S. air strikes on Iraq hurled stones and torched a security post at the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad on Dec. 31. U.S. President Donald Trump blamed Iran for “orchestrating” the attack on the embassy. On Friday, Iran’s most prominent general, Qassem Soleimani, was killed in a U.S. drone strike on his convoy at Baghdad airport, an attack that carried U.S.-Iranian hostilities into uncharted waters. Russia and China said any statement by the U.N. Security Council on the attack on the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad should also include the latest developments.

Newsline: Iraqi foreign ministry summons U.S. ambassador over air strikes

Iraq’s foreign ministry said on Sunday it summoned the U.S. ambassador on the back of repeated U.S. air strikes on Iraqi soil that killed Iraqi militia fighters and Iranian General Qassem Soleimani and Iraqi militia leader Abu Mahdi al-Muahndis. (https://www.reuters.com/article/iraq-security-diplomacy/iraqi-foreign-ministry-summons-u-s-ambassador-over-air-strikes-statement-idUSS8N27L04I) The foreign ministry said the act was, “a flagrant breach of Iraq’s sovereignty and of all international laws and norms that regulate relations between countries and prohibit the use of their lands to carry out attacks on neighbouring countries.”