There are reports that three Katyusha rockets have hit the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad, and up to five others struck the surrounding area. According to U.S. defense officials, no deaths occurred but there were some injuries. The severity of the injuries are not known at the time. This strike follows a January 20 strike in which three Katyusha rockets landed near the Embassy.
Also today in Iraq, in the aftermath of a clash between security forces and protesters, one person was killed. In total over 100 people were injured in Baghdad and other cities around Iraq. Protesters and security forces found themselves in a confrontation as Iraqi citizens protested high-level corruption. Protesters fought with stones and petrol bombs while security forces used live bullets and teargas. The clash began when security forces attempted to put an end to sit-in protest camps.
Protesters are pushing for the removal of a corrupt ruling class, as well as interference by foreign governments in Iraqi politics, including the U.S. and Iran. Iraqi officials have recently stated that they do not wish for Iraq to be the staging ground for a U.S. and Iran conflict. On Sunday, Tahir square became the staging ground for hundreds of university students that could be heard chanting slogans that were anti United States and Iran. The city of Basra saw a reported 2000 students demonstrate art a protest camp.
The recent conflict between the U.S. and Iran including the killing of Qassem Soleimani, and the retaliation by Iran both taking place on Iraqi soil has delayed Iraq being able to form a new government. Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi has come out against today’s rocket attack but also expressed concern that continued conflict could “drag Iraq into becoming a battlefield”.