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Iraq: Rockets fired towards US Baghdad embassy injure Iraqi woman and children

Attack on capital's Green Zone marks rare occasion where Iraqis have been hurt in such an incident
Iraqi security forces stand guard near Baghdad's high-security Green Zone on 31 October 2021 (AFP)

An Iraqi woman and two children have been wounded in rocket attacks on Baghdad's Green Zone, with one hitting a school and two smashing into the US embassy grounds, Iraqi security sources said.

The attack on Thursday marks a rare occasion where Iraqis have been hurt in such an incident.

"Three rockets were fired towards the Green Zone," a high-ranking Iraqi official told AFP, on condition of anonymity. 

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"Two of those fell on the grounds of the American embassy, and the other on a school nearby, injuring a woman, a girl and a young boy."

Iraqi military officials told Reuters that at least two rockets had been shot down by the embassy's rocket defence system.

A series of attacks this month, some of which the United States blames on Iran-aligned militia groups, have targeted bases or installations hosting US military and diplomatic personnel, but have caused no US casualties.

Iran-aligned militias have in previous years carried out dozens of similar attacks, mostly causing little harm, but the assaults have become more sophisticated in the past year, including the use of fixed-wing and multi-rotor drones.

Last month, political and security leaders told Middle East Eye that Iranian-backed Shia armed factions had been thrown a lifeline by US forces not fully withdrawing from Iraq by the end of the year.

Grenade attack

Meanwhile, early on Friday an explosion from a hand grenade hit the headquarters of parliament speaker Mohammed Halbousi's Taqaddum party in Baghdad, wounding two guards, police sources said.

The blast caused damage to the building's doors and windows, officers told Reuters.

No group claimed responsibility and there was no comment from Halbousi or the Iraqi government immediately for the incident.

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A similar incident hours later targeted the Baghdad headquarters of the Azm party of another Sunni Muslim politician, Khamis al-Khanjar, police said, but caused only light damage.

There was also no claim of responsibility for the second incident.

Iraq's parliament, newly elected after an 10 October general election in which the powerful Shia cleric Moqtada al-Sadr was the biggest winner, voted to reinstate Halbousi for his second term as speaker on Sunday.

Shia parties aligned with Iran and which rival Sadr, opposed the selection of Halbousi.

Iraq's top court on Thursday provisionally suspended Halbousi, while judges consider an appeal by two fellow deputies claiming his re-election by other lawmakers was unconstitutional.

The Federal Supreme Court decided "to suspend the work" of the influential Sunni MP on a temporary basis, while it investigates the process of his election.

The move impacts the workings of parliament, as lawmakers cannot meet without the speaker.