Iraq News - Local News - Baghdadpost

Iraq won’t allow threats against diplomatic mission’s security – spokesman

The Iraqi government will not allow threats against the security of diplomatic missions in Baghdad, said a military spokesman late on Sunday.

Yehia Rasool, spokesman of commander-in-chief of the armed forces, said “crime gangs” had renewed their rocket attacks targeting civilian facilities and homes in Baghdad’s Green Zone, which houses government buildings, U.S. embassy and other missions.

A volley of rockets exploded near the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad on Sunday night. The Iraqi military said that an “outlaw group” fired the rockets at Baghdad’s heavily fortified Green Zone.

The Iraqi military said that an “outlaw group” fired the rockets at Baghdad’s heavily fortified Green Zone, which houses government buildings, U.S. Embassy, and other foreign missions.

“This attack is a negative message to the world,” Rasool said in a statement.

“We will not allow the security of diplomatic missions in the capital, Baghdad, to be harmed and threatened, and we are committed to protecting them,” he added.

Rasool further said the security forces would work to pursue the outlaw groups and bring them to justice.

U.S. officials blame Iran-backed militia for regular rocket attacks on U.S. facilities in Iraq, including near the embassy in Baghdad. No known Iran-backed groups have claimed responsibility.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo condemned the attack in a statement late on Sunday, saying Iran-backed militias “are the most serious impediment” to helping Iraq return to peace and prosperity.

“The same militias targeting diplomatic facilities are stealing Iraqi state resources on a massive scale, attacking peaceful protesters and activists, and engaging in sectarian violence,” he added.

Pompeo also called on the Iraqis to support their government’s efforts to reinforce Iraq’s sovereignty, to bring to justice those responsible for “these reprehensible attacks and ensure that all the currently Iran-backed militias are under state control”.

Iraqi Shia cleric Moqtada al-Sadr called on the federal government to declare a “state of emergency” following the rocket attack.

“No one has the right to use weapons outside of the state,” Sadr said in a tweet on Sunday.

“The government should declare a state of emergency in Baghdad and use the army exclusively to protect civilians and diplomatic missions,” Sadr added, noting that he is prepared for security cooperation.

“Anybody who uses weapon outside the jurisdiction of the state … is either a terrorist or outside the law,” he continued.

An array of militia groups announced in October that they had suspended rocket attacks on U.S. forces on condition that Iraq’s government present a timetable for the withdrawal of American troops.

But a rocket strike on the U.S. Embassy on Nov. 18 was also a clear sign that Iranian-backed militias had decided to resume attacks on U.S. bases, according to Iraqi security officials.

Washington, which is slowly reducing its 5,000 troops in Iraq, threatened to shut its embassy unless the Iraqi government reins in Iran-aligned militias.