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Rocket fired towards Baghdad's Green Zone injures child

Attack comes a little over a week since unprecedented Iraqi arrests of Iran-backed militia, intended to prevent such incidents
The US embassy in Baghdad's Green Zone (AFP)

A rocket fired towards Baghdad's Green Zone, where the US embassy is located, fell just short of its target, causing damage to a home and injuring a child early on Sunday, Iraq's military said.

Security forces at the same time stopped another Katyusha rocket from being launched towards the Taji military air base, north of the capital, which hosts US troops, a military statement added.

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US officials blame Iran-backed militia for regular rocket attacks on their facilities in Iraq, including near the embassy in Baghdad. 

No known Iran-backed groups have claimed responsibility for the latest attacks, Reuters reported.

A police and a medical source confirmed that a child was slightly hurt and said the injuries were caused by rocket fragments that landed on a home.

The police source said an anti-rocket system set up to defend the US embassy, and which had been tested on Saturday, had shot down a rocket which exploded in mid-air before it could hit the Green Zone.

Kadhimi’s seriousness questioned

Iraqi security forces raided a headquarters of the Iran-backed Kataib Hezbollah militia in southern Baghdad last week, arresting more than a dozen members of the group on charges of involvement in rocket attacks. Most of those arrested were released shortly afterwards.

Militias backed by Iran have come to dominate parts of Iraq's security institutions, economy and political life.

Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi's government is favoured by the US and has indicated it will back up tough talk against the militias with action.

The operation, described as pre-emptive, has been labelled by the government as an attempt to "preserve the prestige of the state" by stopping the near-daily missile attacks that have plagued the US embassy and military bases hosting American troops for months.

However, as Middle East Eye reported on Thursday, observers wonder if it will have the opposite effect, and have raised questions about Kadhimi’s seriousness about tackling his country’s semi-official armed factions.

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