Iraqi PM’s office says some attackers of US embassy ‘linked to security services’

After rockets fired at US diplomatic mission, Mohammed Shia al-Sudani slams assaults as ‘serious threat’ to Iraq’s security and stability

The US Embassy as seen from across the Tigris River in Baghdad, Iraq, in this file photo taken on January 3, 2020. (Khalid MohammedAP)
The US Embassy as seen from across the Tigris River in Baghdad, Iraq, in this file photo taken on January 3, 2020. (Khalid MohammedAP)

BAGHDAD — Iraq said Thursday it had arrested several attackers who fired rockets at the US embassy last week amid high tensions over the Israel-Hamas war and found some had links to security services.

A salvo of rockets was launched early Friday at the US embassy in Baghdad’s heavily fortified Green Zone, the latest in a flurry of such attacks amid the war in Gaza.

The attack caused no reported casualties or damage, and there was no immediate claim of responsibility, but a US spokesperson said, “indications are the attacks were initiated by Iran-aligned militias.”

Iraqi Prime Minister Mohammed Shia al-Sudani’s office Thursday reported several arrests over the attack and said that “unfortunately, preliminary information indicates that some of them are connected to certain security services.”

The search continued for “all those involved in this attack,” said Sudani’s office in a statement, vowing that “the hand of justice will reach them.”

“Such attacks cannot be condoned or tolerated due to the serious threat they pose to the country’s security and stability,” it said, adding that they cause “damage to Iraq’s reputation and dignity.”

The statement, issued by Special Forces Major General Yehia Rasool, did not name the suspects or what security services they were linked to.

But a security official in Baghdad, speaking anonymously due to the sensitivity of the matter, reported 13 people had been arrested, including members of the security forces.

A handout picture released by Iraq’s Prime Minister’s Media Office on November 5, 2023 shows Prime Minister Mohamed Shia al-Sudani, right, meeting with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken in Baghdad. (Iraq’s Prime Minister’s Media Office/AFP)

The United States leads an international coalition battling jihadists in Iraq and neighboring Syria. Its forces have come under repeated attack in recent weeks and have launched several strikes against Iran-linked fighters.

Pro-Iran groups have justified their attacks by pointing to US support for Israel.

In Iraq, most attacks were claimed by the Islamic Resistance in Iraq, a loose formation of armed groups affiliated with the Hashed al-Shaabi coalition, whose former paramilitaries are now integrated into Iraq’s regular armed forces.

Sudani, brought to power by a pro-Tehran coalition, faces a difficult balancing act between the United States and Iran.

Sudani’s office said he spoke Tuesday with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and stressed “Iraq’s commitment to protecting diplomatic missions and coalition advisors.”

The premier vowed to pursue the perpetrators “without any external interference.”

The Israel-Hamas war broke out on October 7 when Hamas terrorists made a surprise assault into Israel, killing about 1,200 people, mostly civilians, and taking around 240 hostages, Israeli officials say.

Israel then launched its campaign against the terror group, vowing to eliminate its military and government in the Gaza Strip, where it has ruled since 2007.

The Hamas-run health ministry in Gaza has claimed that, since the start of the war, more than 18,600 people have been killed, mostly civilians. These figures cannot be independently verified and are believed to include some 7,000 Hamas terrorists, according to Israel, as well as civilians killed by misfired Palestinian rockets. Another estimated 1,000 terrorists were killed in Israel during the October 7 onslaught.

Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.

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