New rockets hit near Baghdad's Green Zone: security source

Iraqi counter-terrorism forces stand guard in front of the US Embassy in Baghdad, Iraq. (File/AFP)
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Updated 17 March 2020

New rockets hit near Baghdad's Green Zone: security source

  • The projectiles hit an apartment building and wounded three people there
  • No diplomatic missions in the Green Zone were affected

BAGHDAD: At least three rockets struck Baghdad’s fortified Green Zone near the American Embassy late Tuesday, a day after an attack on a training base south of Baghdad where US-led coalition troops and NATO trainers were present, Iraqi security officials said. It was the fourth such attack in the span of a week.
At least three rockets struck the Green Zone, the seat of Iraq’s government and home to several foreign embassies, two Iraqi security officials said. Myles Caggins, spokesman for the coalition, said the rockets fell at least 2 kilometers (1.2 miles) from the embassy.
There were no immediate reports of casualties.
The previous evening, rockets hit the Basmaya base near the Iraqi capital, an Iraqi army statement said. The projectiles landed in an area that includes agricultural land and a factory, according to the statement. No more details were provided.
A Spanish contingent of the coalition and NATO trainers are present at the Basmaya site. There was no immediate confirmation of the attack from the coalition and no militant group claimed responsibility for the assault.
Last Wednesday, a barrage of over two dozen rockets struck Camp Taji, north of Baghdad, killing three coalition servicemen, including two Americans. A British serviceman was also killed. It was the deadliest to target US troops in Iraq since a late December rocket attack on an Iraqi base, which killed a US contractor and set in motion a series of attacks that brought Iraq to the brink of war.
Wednesday’s barrage was followed by another attack, on Saturday at the same site, which wounded five soldiers — three coalition members and two Iraqi soldiers.
The first attack prompted American airstrikes Friday against what US officials said were mainly weapons facilities belonging to Kataib Hezbollah, the Iran-backed militia group believed to be responsible for the attack.
However, Iraq’s military said those airstrikes killed five security force members and a civilian, while wounding five fighters from the Popular Mobilization Forces, an umbrella organization including an array of militias, including some Iran-backed groups.
Iran-backed militia groups vowed to exact revenge, signalling another cycle of tit-for-tat violence between Washington and Tehran that could play out in Iraq.


Iran says black boxes of downed Ukraine plane of ‘no help’

In this file photo taken on January 8, 2020 rescue teams work amidst debris after a Ukrainian plane carrying 176 passengers crashed near Imam Khomeini airport in the Iranian capital Tehran early in the morning on January 8, killing everyone on board. (AFP)
Updated 12 min 5 sec ago

Iran says black boxes of downed Ukraine plane of ‘no help’

  • Ottawa has demanded for several months that Iran, which does not have the technical means to decode the black boxes, send the items abroad so that their content can be analyzed

TEHRAN: The black boxes of a Ukrainian plane mistakenly downed near Tehran airport will be of “no help” in any investigation, but Iran is ready to transfer them abroad, state media said Saturday.
Flight 752, an Ukraine International Airlines jetliner, was struck by a missile and crashed shortly after taking off from the Tehran airport on January 8.
“Even though the investigation is nearly complete and the contents of the boxes will be of no help for the investigation, we are ready to give them to a third country or to a (foreign) company,” Mohsen Baharvand, deputy foreign affairs minister, was quoted as saying by the official IRNA news agency.
In the immediate aftermath of the crash, Iranian civilian authorities insisted it was likely caused by a technical malfunction, vehemently denying claims the plane was shot down.
But in the early hours of January 11, the Iranian military admitted that the plane was shot down due to “human error,” killing 176 people, mainly Iranians and Canadians, including many dual nationals.
Ottawa has demanded for several months that Iran, which does not have the technical means to decode the black boxes, send the items abroad so that their content can be analyzed.
After Tehran said in March it was ready to transfer the black boxes to France or Ukraine, Canada’s foreign minister Francois-Philippe Champagne guardedly welcomed a “step in the right direction,” while noting that he would judge Iranian authorities on “their actions and not just their words.”
In his interview with IRNA, Baharvand implied that Iran had certain conditions for transferring the black boxes abroad, but did not elaborate.