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Rocket lands near Baghdad’s Green Zone, injures child: Iraqi military

In this file photo taken on January 2, 2020 Iraqi counter-terrorism forces stand guard in front of the US embassy in the capital Baghdad. (Photo by AFP)

A rocket has struck a home near the heavily fortified Green Zone in the Iraqi capital Baghdad, which houses some of the main government offices and foreign diplomatic missions, including the US Embassy.

The Iraqi military said in a statement on Sunday that the projectile—which failed to reach its target— caused damage to a house near the high-security district, wounding a child due.

An unnamed police source which confirmed the news also said an anti-rocket system set up near the US embassy shot down the rocket before hitting the Green Zone.

No group has claimed responsibility for the attack yet.

The military statement further said Iraqi security forces have also managed to stop a Katyusha rocket from being launched at Camp Taji base, north of Baghdad, which houses the US-led coalition forces.

The statement gave no further details.

The fortified zone has been repeatedly targeted by Katyusha rockets in recent months.

Washington, each time, has been quick to point the finger at popular anti-terror groups, which are now integrated into Iraq's armed forces. 

The US has time and again targeted positions of Iraq’s Popular Mobilization Units (PMU), also known as Hashd al-Sha’abi, after blaming the major anti-terror force for the rocket attacks. The popular group has strongly denied any involvement in the strikes.

Last week, Iraqi counter-terrorism forces detained the members of Kata'ib Hezbollah—a military unit operating under the PMU—for allegedly planning a rocket attack on Baghdad's Green Zone.

They were released shortly afterwards and all charges against them were dropped.

But the raid on Kata’ib headquarters has raised serious questions about Iraq's direction under the new government, as Iraqi leaders describe it as an attempt dictated by the US occupiers.

Despite Washington’s accusations, Kata'ib has never claimed responsibility for the attacks.

Anti-US sentiment has been running high in Iraq following the US January 3 assassination of top Iranian anti-terror commander, Lieutenant General Qassem Soleimani and his Iraqi trenchmate Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, senior Hashd al-Sha’abi commander in addition to several other comrades outside the Baghdad airport.

Iraqi resistance groups have vowed to avenge the assassinations, but denied any role in such rocket attacks.

Two days after the US assassinations, the Iraqi parliament voted unanimously for a resolution that called for expulsion of all US and other foreign forces from Iraq.

Washington, however, has threatened sanctions should US troops be expelled from Iraq instead of ending the occupation of the Arab country.

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