By Mohammed Tawfeeq, Kylie Atwood, and Aqeel Najim and Devan Cole, CNN
Updated: Thu, 13 Jan 2022 20:35:03 GMT
A woman and a child were wounded when several rockets hit Baghdad's fortified Green Zone, including the US embassy, on Thursday, the embassy and Iraqi military said in statements.
US personnel in the area are safe following the attacks, a State Department official told CNN.
"The U.S. Embassy compound was attacked this evening by terrorist groups attempting to undermine Iraq's security, sovereignty, and international relations," the embassy said in a statement.
"We have long said that these sorts of reprehensible attacks are an assault not just on diplomatic facilities but on the sovereignty of Iraq itself," the embassy added in the tweeted statement.
The Iraqi military said "a cowardly terrorist act" targeted "innocent residents of the Green Zone in Baghdad and the headquarters of the diplomatic missions."
Several missiles were launched from the Dora neighborhood in southern Baghdad, the military said.
Security forces are now investigating the incident.
Baghdad's Green Zone houses Iraqi government offices and several embassies.
Iraqi President Barham Salih condemned the attack on Thursday, writing on Twitter: "Targeting diplomatic missions and endangering civilians is a criminal terrorist act and a blow to Iraq's interests and its international reputation."
Thursday's strikes add to a growing list of attacks on US personnel in the Middle East in recent weeks. Last Wednesday, military bases in Iraq and Syria that house American troops were attacked, though no US forces were killed in the strikes.
Last week also saw several other attacks in the region, coinciding with the second anniversary of the US assassination of Qasem Soleimani, a key Iranian general.
The attack last week on the US base in eastern Syria near the Iraqi border prompted US-led coalition forces to fire back at Iranian-backed militias who were suspected of being behind the strikes.
Pentagon press secretary John Kirby told reporters last week that "it's difficult to know with great specificity and certainty ... what accounts for the frequency of these attacks," adding: "It is certainly possible that it could be related to the anniversary of the Soleimani strike. It is certainly possible that it could be related to the change in mission" in Iraq.
Echoing Salih's sentiments, Iraqi anti-American cleric Muqtada Al-Sadr stressed that Thursday's attacks would only delay the full withdrawal of US troops from the country.
Al-Sadr called on all militia groups to stop attacking the US embassy and other sites, saying such acts would "Undermind our efforts to expel (US troops in Iraq) through the UN Security Council, international means and under penalty of law."
The cleric's political party has emerged as the biggest winner in Iraq's general election that was held in October 2021.
This story has been updated with additional details Thursday.