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05 Jan 2020 | 02:39 PM UTC

Iraq: Indirect fire reported in Baghdad’s Green Zone January 5 /update 9

Indirect fire (possibly 107 mm rockets) reported in Baghdad’s Green Zone January 5; two casualties confirmed as round hits apartment block adjacent to US Embassy complex

security
IRQ

Event

At least four or five rounds of indirect fire (possibly 107 mm rockets) have been reported in Baghdad's Green Zone as of 22:38 (local time) on Sunday, January 5. Notably, one round reportedly hit an apartment complex adjacent to the US Embassy complex, resulting in two casualties. According to local sources, another round hit in the vicinity of the 14th of July Bridge, and possibly two others in Jadriyah. Unconfirmed reports claim a fifth round may have landed in the Tigris River. Detonation points were not immediately confirmed and further details were not immediately released. The fire may have been intended to hit the US Embassy in retaliation for the January 3 US drone strike near Baghdad International Airport (BGW) that killed Iranian Major General Qasem Soleimani and deputy commander of the Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF) Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis.

Tensions will likely escalate in Iraq, particularly in Baghdad, over the near term. Heightened security measures are anticipated throughout the capital, including at Baghdad International Airport (BGW), over the coming hours. Further attacks targeting US personnel and assets are also possible over the coming days. 

Context

The US Department of Defense released a statement on January 3 claiming responsibility for an airstrike targeting and killing Qasem Soleimani, the commander of Iran's Quds Force, near Baghdad International Airport (BGW) the same day. According to the statement, Soleimani was "actively developing plans to attack American diplomats and service members in Iraq and throughout the region." Notably, Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, the deputy commander of Iraq's Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF), was also killed in the strike. The situation remains fluid.

Advice

Individuals in Baghdad are advised to closely monitor developments, avoid the affected areas, and adhere to all instructions issued by the local authorities and their home governments.

The security environment in Iraq remains complex. Professional security advice and support should be sought prior to all travel.