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Rocket strike reported near U.S. Embassy in Baghdad

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Three rockets struck near the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad on Monday, according to multiple reports, making it the third rocket attack in Iraq against Western targets within a week.

Iraqi Security Forces announced that three rockets fell in the Iraqi-controlled Green Zone and destroyed four vehicles, but did not result in casualties. Security Forces also reported that Baghdad Operations Command found missile launchers.

The rockets, according to reports, were of the Katyusha variety.

Monday’s rocket attack follows one that happened Saturday night, when at least four rockets hit Balad Air Base and wounded one person. According to Politico, the U.S. defense company Sallyport has a presence at the base and is contracted to provide support to Iraq’s fleet of U.S.-made F-16 fighter jets.

Moreover, about a dozen rockets last week struck coalition forces outside Erbil International Airport, killing one non-U.S. contractor and injuring nine other individuals, including five Americans.

Despite the Shia militia group that took credit for the first attack being widely known for having close ties to Tehran, as Politico pointed out, the Biden administration has refrained from pointing fingers.

U.S. officials, according to the publication, said the intelligence does not yet point to a clear culprit and indicated they would let the Iraqis spearhead the investigation and any military response.

Local reporters, per American Military News, have posted photos to Twitter of what appear to be burning cars that were hit by the latest attack.

One unconfirmed video seems to show black smoke rising from the site of the attack, with the video’s tweet claiming the smoke is coming from inside the U.S. Embassy’s compound.

You can follow Douglas Braff on Twitter @Douglas_P_Braff.

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Trump: Tanks to Ukraine could escalate to use of ‘NUKES’

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Former President Donald Trump stated bluntly on Truth Social,  “FIRST COME THE TANKS, THEN COME THE NUKES. Get this crazy war ended, NOW. So easy to do!”

Trump was referring to the escalation of war in Ukraine. He, like many other commentators and lawmakers, are warning that the decision to continue sending weapons – and now tanks – could potentially lead to the use of “nuclear weapons.”

It’s mission creep and it’s dangerous, they say.

Why? Because Russian President Valdimir Putin has indicated in two different speeches that he would use nuclear weapons to defend Russia, if needed. Those warnings are not just bluster but a very real possibility.

And the escalation of war is visible.

Russia launched 55 missiles strikes across Ukraine Thursday, leaving 11 dead. The strikes come one day after the United States and Germany agreed to send tanks to Ukraine in an effort to aide the country. 47 of the 55 missiles were shot down according to Ukraine’s Air Force command.

Eleven lives were lost and another 11 were injured additionally leaving 35 buildings damaged in the wake of the attacks. According to The New York Times, Denys Shmyhal, said in a post on Telegram. “The main goal is energy facilities, providing Ukrainians with light and heat,” he said.

Ukraine is now demanding that they need F-16 fighter jets. In a post on twitter Ukrainian lawmaker, Oleksiy Goncharenko said, “Missiles again over Ukraine. We need F16.”

The US has abstained from sending advanced jets in the chances that a volatile decision could foster more dangerous attacks like former President Trump’s post on Truth referred to. If the US did authorize the decision to lend Ukraine the F-16 jets Netherlands’ foreign minister, Wopke Hoekstra, would be willing to supply them. According to The New York Times, Hoekstra told Dutch lawmakers, “We are open-minded… There are no taboos.”

F-16 fighter jets are complex to work on, they are not the average aircraft that can be learned in a matter of weeks. It can take months for pilots to learn how to fly these birds. European and US officials have the concern that Ukrainian forces could potentially use the jets to fly into Russian airspace and launch attacks on Russian soil.

Western allies are trying to avoid such a provocation, because that could lead to nuclear warfare in reference to what Putin has said he would do to defend his country.

 

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