Blasts heard inside Baghdad's Green Zone, home to US embassy and seat of Iraq's government
BAGHDAD - At least three blasts and sirens were heard in Baghdad's heavily-fortified Green Zone, which is home to a U.S. embassy, government buildings and other foreign entities, multiple outlets reported.
Reuters tweeted that witnesses reported hearing the blasts. Fox News reporter Trey Yingst shared video of sirens going off in the area.
Iraqi military officials confirmed Katyusha rockets were launched. The rockets exploded in the perimeter of the U.S. Embassy but did not strike the compound, and no casualties were reported, according to Reuters.
Earlier this week, residents in the area said they heard multiple blasts in the zone and rocket attacks have become more common in recent months.
Just minutes before the reports of blasts, Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei said America should end its presence in the region.
The blasts come less than a day after Iran sent ballistic missiles at two military bases in Iraq that house U.S. troops.
Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said the country took and concluded proportionate measures in self-defense, adding that "we do not seek escalation of war, but will defend ourselves against any aggression."
Khamenei said the overnight strike was not necessarily the totality of Iran's response.“Last night they received a slap,” Khamenei said. “These military actions are not sufficient (for revenge). What is important is that the corrupt presence of America in this region comes to an end.”
No one was harmed in those strikes, but U.S. forces in the region remained on high alert.
A top Pentagon general confirmed that the missiles were fired with an intent "to kill personnel."
But as President Donald Trump addressed the nation Wednesday, he credited the minimized damage to an early warning system “that worked very well."
The president went on to say that the U.S. and Iran had stepped back from the brink of a possible war. He signaled he would not retaliate militarily over the missile strikes.
Trump’s takeaway was that “Iran appears to be standing down, which is a good thing for all parties concerned and a very good thing for the world.”
Speaking from the White House, Trump seemed intent on deescalating the crisis, which spiraled after he authorized the targeted killing last week of Iran's top general, Qassem Soleimani.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.