Unconfirmed reports claim three rockets hit Balad Air Base, host to US military personnel, after a rocket landed in Baghdad's Green Zone, near the US Embassy, on the evening (local time) of Saturday, January 4. No casualties were immediately reported.
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.
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." Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, the deputy commander of Iraq's Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF), was also killed in the strike along with six other individuals. The situation remains fluid.
Individuals in Baghdad and across Iraq are advised to closely monitor developments, avoid the affected area, 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.