Mortar attack in Baghdad injures one
BAGHDAD (AP) — A top U.S. commander said Monday that 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 personnel were injured, but one U.S. national had a minor injury but returned to work.
Two staff members at the embassy, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to brief the media, said initially that rockets slammed into a restaurant inside the American compound late Sunday. A military statement had said five rockets hit inside Baghdad’s Green Zone, where the embassy sits.
In a phone call with Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi,
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo expressed “outrage” and blamed the attack on “Iran’s armed groups,” according to a statement from State Department spokesperson Morgan Ortagusand. Pompeo said the attack was an attempt to divert attention from the suppression of anti-government protesters in Iraq, the statement added.
A statement from Abdul-Mahdi’s office said Pompeo had called the premier and the two discussed measures to strengthen Iraqi forces responsible for protecting diplomatic missions and procedures to prevent similar attack.
A riot policeman pins down a female anti-government protester to search her while security forces try to disperse demonstrators during clashes in Baghdad, Iraq, Monday.