U.S. diplomatic missions in Iraq’s capital and the southern oil hub of Basra appeared to be the target of rocket fire Saturday, a day after protesters torched the Iranian consulate in a show of anger against the entire political class and foreign interference, reports The Wall Street Journal.
Rockets were fired at Basra’s airport, which houses the U.S. consulate, but landed outside the exterior perimeter and caused no damage, according to Jihad Diwan, the head of media for Iraq’s Civil Aviation Authority. Earlier Saturday, rockets were also fired toward Baghdad’s Green Zone, where
the U.S. Embassy is located.
According to The Washington Post, Iraqi security forces deployed on the streets of Basra on Saturday.
At least 15 people were killed and 249 injured in clashes between protesters and security forces this week, health officials say, according to the Post.
Iraq is burning again — and the unrest could plunge the country once more into full-blown chaos.-RW
In the last 24 hours, protesters in the southern Iraqi city of Basra have attacked or set fire to nearly every government building — including the headquarters of the ruling Da’wa Party and the offices of the state-run Iraqiya TV station — as well as the Iranian consulate and the headquarters of almost every Iranian-backed militia in the city.
And on Friday evening, according to local reports, protesters had gathered outside the US consulate in an attempt to storm the building, and Iraqi security forces had been deployed to keep them away. (The consulate was closed at the time.)
The protesters are outraged over the lack of basic services in the city. Basra has been suffering from a crippling electricity shortage for months — in a place where summer temperatures regularly reach above 120 degrees Fahrenheit during the day.
Compounding that is a water pollution crisis that has sickened thousands of residents of Basra province in the last few weeks — including 7,000 cases that occurred over just two days in late August. According to the Iraqi Observatory for Human Rights, hospitals were so overwhelmed that some patients were left lying on the floor untreated.