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Two rockets hit near US embassy in Baghdad's Green Zone

US-led coalition says no 'US-occupied facility' was hit but that it would defend itself in such an event
Iraqi security forces stand guard outside Baghdad's fortified Green Zone, 20 May 2016 (AFP/File photo)

Two rockets have hit areas near the US embassy in Baghdad, but there were no casualties or damage caused, Iraqi security services said, according to Reuters news agency. 

One of the rockets exploded inside the International Zone of Baghdad known as "the Green Zone" and another landed in the Tigris river, a statement from Iraqi security services said. 

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the blasts. 

The US-led coalition that helps fight Islamic State (IS) in Iraq and has a headquarters near the area hit said it would not tolerate any attacks on its personnel, in an unusually strong statement regarding security incidents in Iraq.

It said no "US-occupied facility" was hit but that it would defend itself in such an event.

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It did not blame the attack on any group.

Weekend attack

On Saturday night, Seven people were killed in three attacks on the outskirts of Baghdad that targeted the homes of tribal fighters belonging to the Iran-affiliated Hashd al-Shaabi paramilitary forces. 

One of the attacks also targeted an army barracks in the Sunni suburb of Tarmiya. 

Such incidents have been rare but sporadic in the Iraqi capital in recent years.

Seven killed in Baghdad suburb targeting homes of Hashd al-Shaabi tribal fighters
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Iraq, whose main allies are Washington and Tehran, hosts both US troops and paramilitary groups backed by Iran. 

Monday's attack comes amid intensifying tensions and threats between the US and Iran.

The US has blamed Iran for recent attacks including on oil installations in Saudi Arabia this month, which Iran denies. 

A rocket fired from eastern Baghdad landed in the same area near the US embassy in May.  

At the time, the State Department ordered all "non-emergency US government employees" to leave Iraq, amid soaring tensions with Iran. 

It also suspended normal visa services at its embassy in Baghdad and consulate in Erbil. 

The Trump administration had accused Iran of supporting “imminent attacks” on US personnel in the region.  

Islamic State 

For weeks this summer, Iraqi forces - the army, police and Hashd al-Shaabi - combed the orchards around Tarmiya, about an hour north of Baghdad, for IS sleeper cells.

In July, they declared the operation a success after arresting several alleged IS members.

IS overran large parts of Iraq and neighbouring Syria in 2014, declaring a "caliphate" in areas they controlled.

Iraq in late 2017 declared victory against IS, but the group's disparate network of undercover fighters still carries out deadly attacks across the country.

On Friday, an attack claimed by IS killed 12 people on the edge of Karbala, as the Shia holy city prepares to receive millions of pilgrims next month.

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