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Rockets hit Baghdad’s Green Zone and Iraq base housing US troops

Members of the Hashed al-Shaabi paramilitary force step on a makeshift US flag bearinga caricature of President Donald Trump during the funeral procession of Iraqi paramilitary chief Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis (poster-L) , Iranian military commander Qasem Soleimani (poster-R), and eight others in the capital Baghdad's district of al-Jadriya, near the high-security Green Zone, on January 4, 2020.
Members of the Hashed al-Shaabi paramilitary force step on a makeshift US flag bearinga caricature of President Donald Trump during the funeral procession of Iraqi paramilitary chief Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis (poster-L) , Iranian military commander Qasem Soleimani (poster-R), and eight others in the capital Baghdad's district of al-Jadriya, near the high-security Green Zone, on January 4, 2020. Ahmad al-Rubaye, AFP

Two mortar rounds hit the Iraqi capital’s Green Zone Saturday and two rockets hit a base housing US troops, security sources said, a day after an American strike killed a top Iranian commander. 

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In Baghdad, mortar rounds on Saturday evening hit the Green Zone, the high-security enclave where the US embassy is based, security sources said.

The Iraqi military said that one projectile hit inside the zone, while another landed close to the enclave. Sirens rang out at the US compound, sources there told AFP.

The mortar that struck outside the Green Zone, in Baghdad's Jadriya neighborhood, wounded five people, police sources told Reuters. 

A pair of Katyusha rockets then hit the Balad airbase north of Baghdad, where American troops are based, security sources and the Iraqi military said.

Security sources there reported blaring sirens and said surveillance drones were sent above the base to locate the source of the rockets.

The US embassy in Baghdad as well as the 5,200 American troops stationed across the country have faced a spate of rocket attacks in recent months that Washington has blamed on Iran and its allies in Iraq.

One attack last month killed a US contractor working in northern Iraq, prompting retaliatory American air strikes that killed 25 hardline fighters close to Iran.

Tensions escalated sharply on Friday when the US struck Iranian General Qassem Soleimani’s convoy as it drove out of the Baghdad airport, killing him as well as top Iraqi paramilitary chief Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis and a clutch of other Iranian and Iraqi figures.

Saturday’s blasts came as Soleimani’s funeral procession continued to make its way through Iraq, heading south from Baghdad to the central Iraqi city of Karbala Saturday before continuing on to the Shiite shrine city of Najaf and later to Iran.

(FRANCE 24 with AFP and REUTERS)

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