Rockets target US interests despite arrests



Two rocket attacks targeted American diplomatic and military installations overnight, Iraq’s security forces said Sunday, a little over a week since unprecedented arrests prevented a similar incident. Since October, US diplomats and troops across Iraq have been targeted by around three dozen missile attacks which Washington has blamed on pro-Iranian armed factions.
In the first move of its kind, elite Iraqi troops in late June arrested more than a dozen Tehran-backed fighters who were allegedly planning a new attack on Baghdad’s Green Zone, home to the US and other foreign embassies.
Iraqi government officials said the raid would serve as a “message” to deter future attacks, but early on Sunday, militants made another attempt.
One rocket fired at the Green Zone landed near a home, wounding a child, according to the Iraqi military. “At the same time, our forces were able to thwart another attack and seize a Katyusha rocket and launcher that were targeting the Taji base north of Baghdad,” where US-led coalition troops are based, it added. The attempts came just hours after the US embassy tested a new rocket defence system known as a C-RAM, according to a senior Iraqi security source.
The C-RAM, set up earlier this year at the embassy, scans for incoming projectiles and explodes them in the air by targeting them with several thousand bullets per minute.
A series of muted blasts could be heard across Baghdad on Saturday as the system was apparently tested, leaving passersby confused and Iraq’s parliament outraged.
Deputy speaker Hassan al-Kaabi slammed the trial as “provocative” and “unacceptable” as it could put residential areas in danger.–AFP