A top United States commander said yesterday mortars were used in an attack on the American embassy in Baghdad that injured one person and caused some material damage the previous night, not katyusha rockets as was initially reported by staffers and a statement from the military.
Gen. Frank McKenzie, a top U.S. commander for the Middle East, told reporters traveling with him that the mortar attack started a fire that was put out. He said no U.S. military members were injured, but that one U.S. national received a minor injury but has returned to work.
The two staff members of the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to brief the media, said initially it had been rockets that slammed into a restaurant inside the American compound.
The U.S. Embassy is within the Iraqi capital’s Green Zone, and has been a flashpoint amid wider regional tensions between the U.S. and Iran, which have played out inside Iraq in recent weeks. Iraqi supporters of an Iran-backed militia stormed the embassy compound on Dec. 31, smashing the main door and setting fire to the reception area.
Violence between Iraqi security forces and anti-government protesters also continued to seethe overnight, with one protester shot dead in a violent crackdown in the country’s south. Unrest was also ongoing in the capital, with new clashes erupting Monday near the central Khilani and Wathba squares, where security forces fired tear gas and live bullets to disperse crowds.