(StraightNews.org) – The US Embassy in Baghdad came under fire by mortar attack on the morning of December 8. Around seven 60 mm mortars were launched at the heavily fortified compound, with more falling short and landing in the nearby Tigris River. Iran-backed groups were blamed for the attack, but officials said only minor damage was done, and there were no injuries or casualties.
An American spokesperson called on the Iraqi government to step up its efforts to protect diplomats and partners before adding, “We reiterate that we reserve the right to self-defense and to protect our personnel anywhere in the world.”
Kata’ib Hezbollah of Iraq, a terrorist group funded by Iran and based in the Iraqi capital, stopped short of claiming responsibility for the attack but did say it represented the start of “new rules of engagement” and vowed further action against US personnel in the region.
Lieutenant General Keith Kellogg told Fox News that the mortar attack signifies an escalation because of the status of the embassy compound, which is sovereign US territory. Kellogg said there had been 78 attacks on US personnel since the Hamas attack on Israel on October 7, but “this is different… This is a real assault on American sovereignty in the Middle East.”
Attacks on US personnel in the region have vastly increased since the Hamas attack on Israel, and assaults on ships by Iran-backed Yemeni Houthi groups in the Red Sea are raising alarms about the impact on global oil prices, which some experts say could have a “catastrophic” effect on the energy market.
UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, whose country’s ships were also hit in the Red Sea, held talks with Israeli leader Benjamin Netanyahu to discuss the safety of their vessels. Mr. Sunak’s office said the two leaders “shared concerns about increasing attacks by Houthi militants,” adding that the UK has deployed Navy Destroyer HMS Diamond to “bolster deterrence in the region and keep trade routes flowing.”
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