Reports of rocket attacks near United States Embassy in Iraq

The blasts reportedly hit by the Victory Arch.
The blasts reportedly hit by the Victory Arch. Photo credit: Getty.

Multiple rocket attacks hit near the United States Embassy in Baghdad, Iraq on Sunday morning, as well as at an air base.

There was up to two rocket attacks in Baghdad's Green Zone, an area in the centre of the city protected by barriers which contains the US Embassy, the country's Parlaiment and other foreign embassies.

It's believed the rockets hit by the city's Celebration Square Victory Arch, which is in the Green Zone, close to the US Embassy.

There was another attack in the Baghdad neighbourhood of Al-Jadiriya and a third centred on the Balad Air Base in Iraq, which hosts United States troops.

"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 Iraqi military said.

Reuters reports that two witnesses says there were two blasts near the American embassy.

There have also been reports of mortar blasts at the Presidential Palace in Mosul, where US forces are reportedly based. Five civilians and three Iraqi military personnel were reportedly wounded here.

These reports come as Iran and Iraq mourn Qassem Soleimani, the Iranian general killed in a United States-directed airstrike on Friday. Iran has called it an "act of war" and promised revenge, sparking fears of a regional war.

Following the airstrike, the United States called for American citizens to flee Iraq, as many from the southern city of Basra did. Other American allies have also told citizens to show extreme caution when visiting the country. There is currently a "Do not travel" advisory for New Zealanders wanting to go to Iraq and a "Exercise increased caution" for most parts of Iran.

Tens of thousands of people marched in Baghdad on Sunday to remember the military chief as well as militia leader Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis who was also killed in the Friday blast.

Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said there would be three days of mourning for Soleimani, who was considered one of the most powerful men in Iran. Commentators have suggested his death is the equivalent of killing the vice-president of the US, and the death has sent shockwaves around the globe.

Sticking to similar lines to what the Pentagon said in a statement following the airstrike, US President Donald Trump said on Saturday that the decision to strike was to "stop a war".

"Soleimani was plotting imminent and sinister attacks on American diplomats and military personnel but we caught him in the act and terminated him," the president said.

Roughly 3000 additional soldiers are being sent to the Middle East following Friday's airstrike.

The Trump-directed attack comes after a week of heightened tension between Iran and the US. Last week, an America contractor in Iraq was killed in a rocket attack which the US blamed on Iranian-backed militia. In response, the US killed 25 Kataeb Hezbollah fighters, leading militias to attack the US Embassy in Baghdad.

An additional airstrike hit in the Iraq area of Taji on Saturday, killing at least six people.