Hours after on Monday multiple rockets struck Ain Assad airbase in Iraq's Anbar province where US troops are based, there was a fresh attack on the US embassy in Baghdad's Green Zone in which aerial defenses were immediately activated.
"American defense systems fired rockets into the air in Baghdad, according to AFP reporters, with Iraqi security sources saying the salvos took out a drone that was laden with explosives," France24 writes of the latest security incident.
The attacks came no less than 12 hours apart, with the drone attempted strike on the embassy coming just after midnight - all of which demonstrates an increased frequency of threats against US forces inside the country.
A BBC correspondent cited US officials who said "The US will respond forcefully even if no American personnel are killed or injured" and reported further an American counterattack should be seen as imminent. So far there have been no reports of casualties.
This marks 47 attacks in 2021 so far against US interests in Iraq at a moment it's believed less than 3,000 American troops remain (not counting the abundant contractors and intelligence personnel).
Though the perpetrators of these fresh pair of attacks are as yet unknown, the incidents are being widely viewed as part of broader revenge attacks for the June 27 series of US airstrikes on Iran-backed militia groups along the Iraq-Syria border, which killed and wounded multiple fighters as well as reports of civilians. There was also a rumored US attack Sunday on pro-Iranian militants in Syria, which the US coalition quickly denied in an official statement.
The details of the just after midnight drone assault on the embassy are detailed in one regional source as follows:
Then after midnight, but less than 12 hours after the first attack sirens were triggered at the US embassy area and Union III facility near the embassy. C-RAM, which is a kind of munition used to down mortars, was used to try to stop the drone threat. Reports today also showcased a drone that was used several days ago and which set off alarms near the US embassy. It was a quadcopter. Kataib Hezbollah also reportedly released an image showing underground missile silos.
A prior drone incident was on June 9, which included three explosive-laden drones sent inbound to the Baghdad airport, also where Americans are stationed.
June had witnessed a significant uptick in anti-US action in Iraq...
Drone & rocket attacks on US bases in Iraq & Syria since June:— Nafiseh Kohnavard (@nafisehkBBC) July 6, 2021
•6 June, Al assad
•9 June, Baghdad Airport
•10 June, Balad airbase
•15 June, Baghdad Airport
•20 June, Al Assad
•27 June, Erbil
•28 June, Omar Oil field, Syria
•5 July, Al Assad
•6 July, Union III, US Embassy
The recent Biden-ordered action against pro-Iranian militia inside Syria was said by the White House to be in response to the uptick in drone activity specifically sponsored by the militias, which the groups in termed vowed revenge for.
But clearly judging by Monday into Tuesday's events, this hasn't deterred the attacks - instead it seems continued escalation is in the air also as political pressure builds in Baghdad and Washington for a full US exit like in Afghanistan.