A rocket attack in Baghdad's Green Zone on Thursday afternoon killed three guards employed by the U.S. Embassy and wounded 15 people, including two Americans, the embassy said.
BAGHDAD — A rocket attack in Baghdad’s Green Zone on Thursday killed three guards employed by the U.S. Embassy and wounded 15 people, including two Americans, the embassy said.
Two of the guards were Ugandan and one was Peruvian, embassy officials said.
Also Thursday, Iraqi officials said four detainees tied to the Sunni insurgent group al-Qaida in Iraq escaped this week from a prison the United States handed over to Iraqi control last week.
In a statement on the Green Zone attack, the embassy said all those killed and wounded worked for a government contractor that protects U.S. facilities in Iraq. Herndon-based Triple Canopy employs the Ugandan and Peruvian guards who work at the embassy.
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The statement did not say whether the rocket landed inside the embassy compound. Some of the guards, who live in camps near the embassy, work at outer checkpoints.
The attack underscored the tenuousness of security in Iraq a month before the U.S. military is scheduled to declare the nominal end of its combat mission in Iraq and reduce its troop level to 50,000.
Although violence has decreased in the country, attacks occur almost daily, and many Iraqis fear that political violence will intensify as a struggle for power spawned by the inconclusive March 7 parliamentary elections drags on.
At least two of the inmates whose escape was disclosed Thursday were reportedly senior members of the Islamic State of Iraq, the umbrella organization that includes al-Qaida in Iraq. The two men were the Finance and Interior ministers, respectively, of the Islamic State of Iraq, which sought to form a shadow government in Iraq after the 2003 U.S.-led invasion.
Brig. Gen. Qassim Atta, an Iraqi military spokesman, said on Iraqi television that the Justice Ministry was to blame for the prison break, which reportedly occurred Tuesday.
“It is not our responsibility,” he said.
The U.S. military handed over control of the Camp Cropper prison to the Iraqi government last Thursday. During the ceremony, U.S. commanders expressed confidence in the Justice Ministry’s ability to run the prison, which houses some of Iraq’s most notorious insurgents.
“This is the first day of a new era,” Maj. Gen. Jerry Cannon, the U.S. general in charge of detainee operations, said during the ceremony, according to a news release. “One in which all elements of the Iraqi criminal-justice system are able to assert their role in providing the continued safety and security of the Iraqi people.”