December 22, 2020
Iran-backed militias are the most serious impediment to peace and prosperity in Iraq, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Monday, after a barrage of rockets targeted the US Embassy in Baghdad.
The head of US forces in the Middle East also warned that it would pay a price if it sought revenge for the assassination of Qassim Soleimani on next month’s anniversary of the military commander’s death.
“We are prepared to defend ourselves, our friends and partners in the region, and we’re prepared to react if necessary,” Gen. Frank McKenzie said. “We’ll be prepared for anything the Iranians or their proxies acting for them might choose to do. I talk to my commanders about it every day.”
Pompeo spoke after at least eight Katyusha rockets landed in the heavily fortified Green Zone in Baghdad late on Sunday. There was minor damage to the building, but no casualties.
“We call on all Iraqis to support their government’s efforts to reinforce Iraq’s sovereignty, to bring to justice those responsible for these reprehensible attacks and ensure that all the currently Iran-backed militias are under state control,” he said.
The Iraqi military said an “outlaw group” fired the rockets. Most of the missiles hit a residential complex and a security checkpoint inside the zone, damaging buildings and cars and injuring one Iraqi soldier.