Rocket Attack Hits Baghdad’s Green Zone

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) -
iraq iran
An MV-22 Osprey lands on the flight deck of the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln in the Arabian Sea, Friday. (Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Amber Smalley/U.S. Navy via AP)

An apparent rocket attack has exploded in the Iraqi capital’s heavily fortified Green Zone, home to government headquarters and the U.S. Embassy.

Iraq’s state-run news agency says a Katyusha rocket crashed inside the area without causing any casualties.

Alert sirens sounded briefly in Baghdad after the explosion was heard, according to Associated Press reporters on the east side of the Tigris River.

The apparent attack comes amid heightened tensions across the Persian Gulf, after the White House ordered warships and bombers to the region earlier this month to counter an alleged, unexplained threat from Iran. The U.S. also has ordered nonessential staff out of its diplomatic posts in Iraq.

Iraq hosts more than 5,000 U.S. troops, and is home to powerful Iranian-backed militias, some of whom want those U.S. forces to leave.

The U.S. Navy says it has conducted exercises in the Arabian Sea with an aircraft carrier strike group ordered to the Persian Gulf to counter an alleged, unspecified threat from Iran.

The Navy said Sunday the exercises and training were conducted with the USS Abraham Lincoln aircraft carrier strike group in coordination with the U.S. Marine Corps, highlighting U.S. “lethality and agility to respond to threat,” as well as to deter conflict and preserve U.S. strategic interests.

Also taking part in exercises were the Kearsarge Amphibious Ready Group and the 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit, both deployed to the U.S. Fifth Fleet area of operations in the Persian Gulf.

The Navy says the exercises, conducted Friday and Saturday, included air-to-air training and steaming in formation and maneuvering.