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Rockets fired near US Embassy in Baghdad hours after ‘death to America’ chants

By Holly Christodoulou | The Sun |

ROCKETS have been fired near the US Embassy in Baghdad and at an airbase housing American troops, according to reports.

FILE PHOTO: Iraqi Security Forces vehicles line up in the street outside the U.S. embassy compound in Baghdad, Iraq January 1, 2020. DoD/Lt. Col. Adrian Weale/Handout via REUTERS
FILE PHOTO: Iraqi Security Forces vehicles line up in the street outside the U.S. embassy compound in Baghdad, Iraq January 1, 2020. DoD/Lt. Col. Adrian Weale/Handout via REUTERS

The two attacks came just hours after mourners chanted “death to America” at the funeral of top Iranian general Qasem Soleimani.

There are not believed to be any injuries after the rockets fell at the embassy compound – in the Iraqi capital’s green zone – and near Iraq’s Balad airbase.

Missiles also rained down on Baghdad’s Jadriya neighbourhood – wounding five people, police said.

Iraqi military said in a statement after the strikes: “Several rockets targeting Celebration Square and the Jadriya area in Baghdad, and the Balad air base in Salahuddin province, with no loss of life.

“Further details to come.”

The separate attacks come after Iran pinpointed 35 “key US targets” as it unfurled a red flag of revenge.

The chilling display is seen as a clear warning the Islamic Republic is ready to fulfil its worrying pledge to strike back at America and Donald Trump.

General Soleimani – head of the feared Quds force – was taken out by Pentagon drones on Friday morning near the Iraqi capital Baghdad’s international airport.

Iranian military commander Qasem Soleimani
Iranian military commander Qasem Soleimani

Mourners chanting ‘death to America’ mobbed a funeral procession for the powerful general and other militia killed in the US airstrike, which was later branded an ‘act of war’ by Tehran.

But Donald Trump last night defended ordering the hit as he insisted it was to “stop a war, not start a war”.

The president claims the US bombed Soleimani – said to be Iran’s second most powerful figure – amid fears he was plotting against American diplomats in Iraq.

Trying to restore calm as he spoke on camera for the first time since giving the airstrike order, Trump said Soleimani should have been killed “long ago” – and claimed a “reign of terror” is now over.

He also vowed to take whatever action is necessary, adding: “The world is a safer place without these monsters.”

WORLD WAR THREE FEARS

It came months of tensions between the US and Iran in which Tehran shot down an American military surveillance drone and seized oil tankers.

This photo released by the Iraqi Prime Minister Press Office shows a burning vehicle at the Baghdad International Airport following an airstrike in Baghdad, Iraq, early Friday, Jan. 3, 2020. The Pentagon said Thursday that the U.S. military has killed Gen. Qassem Soleimani, the head of Iran’s elite Quds Force, at the direction of President Donald Trump. (Iraqi Prime Minister Press Office via AP)

But there are serious concerns the execution could cause the outbreak of World War Three after Iran’s supreme leader Ali Khamenei promised “harsh vengeance”, “jihad” and “crushing revenge”.

Searches for World War Three spiked on Google within hours of the airstrike and began trending on Twitter as the news broke.

And Trump deployed 3,500 troops to the Middle East in retaliation to threats by Iran vowing to “turn day into night”.

HIGH ALERT

Major US cities – including New York and Los Angeles – say they have already ramped up security in the aftermath to prevent any revenge attacks.

There are fears the Iran-backed Hezbollah militant group may already have sleeper cells in the US ready to pounce.

Soleimani had landed at Baghdad Airport early yesterday morning where he was met by Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, deputy commander of the pro-Iran Popular Mobilization forces in Iraq.

As the cars passed through a cargo area for an access road leading out of the airport, the vehicle was struck by at least two missiles by a US MQ9 Reaper drone which was being controlled remotely.

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