On December 8, the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad was struck by approximately seven mortar rounds, marking the largest such attack in recent memory. Concurrently, U.S. forces in Iraq and Syria faced multiple rocket and drone attacks, the most in a single day since mid-October. These incidents have been linked to Iran-aligned militias retaliating against U.S. support of Israel in its conflict with Hamas in Gaza. U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin condemned these attacks in a call with Iraq’s Prime Minister Mohammed Shia Al-Sudani, specifically naming Iran-aligned groups Kataib Hezbollah and Harakat Hezbollah al Nujaba.
This escalation includes the first attack on the U.S. Embassy in over a year, indicating a broader targeting range. Despite no claims of responsibility, Iran-aligned militias are suspected, with no casualties but minor damages reported. The U.S. has retaliated with strikes, causing militant casualties, and has urged Iraqi security forces to act against the perpetrators. The State Department emphasizes the non-negotiable nature of U.S. self-defense rights and the Iraqi government’s commitment to protect U.S. personnel.