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'Think it over': Trump sends warning to Iran after 'several rockets' hit US Embassy in Baghdad

Tyler Van Dyke, Breaking News Reporter |

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President Trump tweeted a warning at Iran on Wednesday after the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad was hit by "several rockets."

"Our embassy in Baghdad got hit Sunday by several rockets," Trump wrote as he was traveling to his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida from the White House for Christmas. "Three rockets failed to launch. Guess where they were from: IRAN. Now we hear chatter of additional attacks against Americans in Iraq."

Iraqi security officials said on Sunday that at least three rockets had landed inside Baghdad’s Green Zone in an attack that reportedly targeted the U.S. Embassy.

There were no casualties, and an “outlaw group” was blamed for the attack. One official said that an anti-rocket system intercepted one of the missiles.

“Some friendly health advice to Iran: If one American is killed, I will hold Iran responsible. Think it over," Trump, who has less than a month left in his term, said in a subsequent tweet.

The Sunday attack was the third since the U.S. military and regional militias entered an informal truce back in October. At least 21 missiles were fired at the Green Zone, making it the largest attack on the area since 2010, according to the Wall Street Journal.

U.S. Defense officials have not blamed the attack on Iran. "I do not know the degree to which Iran is complicit,” Gen. Frank McKenzie told the Wall Street Journal on Tuesday. “We do not seek a war, and I don’t actually believe they seek one either.”

In a Sunday statement, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo blamed "Iran-backed militias" but fell short of blaming Iran directly.

A spokesperson for U.S. Central Command reiterated Pompeo's remarks Wednesday evening, saying that an Iranian-backed rogue militia group "almost certainly" conducted the attack and adding that the United States would "hold Iran accountable" for any deaths incurred from rogue militia attacks.

"The Dec. 20, 2020 rocket attack on the green zone in Iraq was almost certainly conducted by an Iranian-backed Rogue Militia Group. While this 21 rocket attack caused no U.S. injuries or casualties, the attack did damage buildings in the U.S. Embassy compound, and was clearly NOT intended to avoid casualties," Capt. Bill Urban said in a statement. "The United States will hold Iran accountable for the deaths of any Americans that result from the work of these Iranian-backed Rogue Militia Groups."

"These groups are Iranian-backed because Iran provides both material support and direction," Urban added. "They are rogue because they are actually acting on behalf of Iranian interests and direction in a direct betrayal of Iraqi sovereignty. It is important for the people of Iraq to understand that past attacks by the Iranian-backed Rogue Militia Groups have killed more Iraqi civilians and members of the Iraqi Security Forces than they have killed Americans."

Earlier this month, the U.S. ordered a temporary withdrawal of some staff at the embassy, citing concerns of attacks inspired by the approaching anniversary of the killing of Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani.

The incremental drawdown of personnel would take place leading up to Jan. 3, one year after Trump ordered a drone strike that killed Soleimani and Iraq's Abu Mahdi al Muhandis, who headed the Iranian-backed Popular Mobilization Forces.

A Defense official said that Iranian leaders "aren't going to give up" on their desire for revenge following the attack.

Days after the drone strike, Iran attacked two U.S. bases in Iraq with more than a dozen ballistic missiles. No deaths were reported following the attacks, but more than 100 troops were diagnosed with traumatic brain injuries after the incident.

Tensions in the region were exacerbated further earlier this month after Iranian nuclear scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh was assassinated. Regarded as the Robert Oppenheimer of Iran, Fakhrizadeh was integral to building Iran's nuclear program. The killing has been blamed on Israel, a country that has refused to comment on the incident.

In retaliation, Iran's Guardian Council on Wednesday approved a bill that would order Iran's Atomic Energy Agency to return uranium enrichment to levels not seen in the country since the U.S. and Iran entered the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action in 2015, commonly referred to as the Iran nuclear deal, if the incoming Biden administration and European powers fail to lift sanctions by early February, according to the New York Times. The bill also suspends access to any Iranian nuclear facilities for outside investigators.

At Fakhrizadeh's funeral, the Iranian defense minister vowed that the country would continue Fakhrizadeh's work "with more speed and more power" than ever before.