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Secret deal between Iran and Iraq halts attacks on US embassy in Baghdad: reports Open in fullscreen

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Secret deal between Iran and Iraq halts attacks on US embassy in Baghdad: reports

US Marines walk past the American Embassy in Baghdad [Getty]

Date of publication: 12 February, 2021

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Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi negotiated an agreement with Iran to stop missile attacks targeting the US embassy in Baghdad, intelligence sources say.

A secret agreement between Iran and Iraq is behind the recent cessation of missile attacks against Baghdad’s Green Zone, which hosts the US embassy and a number of foreign diplomatic missions, intelligence sources have told the New Arab's Arabic-language service.

It has been over a month since the last missile hit the heavily fortified zone of the Iraqi capital, which had been the target of regular attacks ever since the killing of Iranian General  Qassem Soleimani in a US drone strike near Baghdad Airport in January 2020.

An official in Baghdad who spoke to The New Arab's Arabic service on condition of anonymity said a new, undeclared truce had been negotiated by the government of Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi with Iran to stop the missile attacks targeting the USembassy specifically.

Despite the truce, IED attacks targeting international coalition vehicles transporting non-military materials are ongoing. Iran-backed militias also continue to attack and persecute Iraqi citizens working as translators or employees for the US in Iraq, accusing them of "treason" for serving "the occupier."

Read also: Iraq's Sadr backs early elections in rare appearance

The last violent attack on the US embassy in Baghdad took place on December 20, when eight missiles caused minor damage to the compound. In a statement at the time, the US embassy condemned the attack, calling on Iraqi officials to prevent further attacks and hold those responsible to account.

The embassy's C-RAM defence system shot down the rockets in mid-air, causing minor damage to a nearby residential complex and parked cars. There were no reports of casualties.

Several groups unexpectedly condemned the attack, including the populist cleric and former militia leader Moqtada al-Sadr and the hardline Iraqi Shia paramilitary group Kataeb Hezbollah.  The Trump administration accused Iran of being behind the spate of attacks on US interests and warned Baghdad that it would close its embassy unless it could prevent further attacks.

Iraqi Prime Minister Al-Kadhimi described the incident as a "terrorist attack." It was the first time an Iraqi official had used the term “terrorist” to describe an attack by pro-Iranian groups against the US embassy.

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