Mortars hit Baghdad Green Zone during Biden visit

Mortars hit Baghdad Green Zone during Biden visit

Militants fired several mortars or rockets at Baghdad's fortified Green Zone government district on Tuesday shortly after U.S. Vice President Joe Biden flew in, underlining the fragility of Iraq's security gains, Reuters reported.

Iraqi police said one mortar round killed two Iraqi civilians and wounded five when it blasted an apartment block in the zone. Another two rounds landed near the sprawling U.S. embassy compound, but did not hit it.

Police had no further reports of casualties.

Biden had met with the U.S. ambassador, Chris Hill, and the senior U.S. military commander, General Ray Odierno, just before the mortar strikes. He was safe in an undisclosed location, aides said, his whereabouts kept secret for security reasons.

A briefing for journalists by Hill and Odierno was interrupted by the sound of explosions. A loudspeaker at the embassy broadcast a warning to duck and take cover.

The U.S. military said it knew of only one blast from incoming fire, which hit near the Green Zone but not inside it.

It was Biden's second trip to Iraq in three months, and the visit signaled that the Obama administration is anxious to resolve long-standing disputes between Kurdish, Shi'ite and Sunni Arab communities over land and oil that U.S. officials fear could yet rip apart the country.

After his meeting with Hill and Odierno, Biden said a national election in January was the key to resolving those differences, which have in recent weeks been on display through public quarrelling over who was to blame for bomb attacks.

"I think a successful election is the necessary condition for those outstanding political questions to be resolved ... most of the parties ... feel the same way," Biden said.

Violence has dropped sharply in Iraq since the height of a wave of sectarian killings in 2006, due in part to a so-called "surge" of tens of thousands of U.S. troops, but the security gains have not been matched by much political progress.

"I don't think necessarily the result of a failed political process is civil war," Hill said. "The threat is the political process will not give the country sufficient cohesion to work on its economic issues and otherwise to become a strong and stable factor in the region."

Iraq's security gains remain fragile, as evidenced by Tuesday's rocket and mortar attacks and two giant truck bombs on August 19 that killed 95 people at the foreign and finance ministries and shattered public confidence in Iraq's security.

Iraq's Shi'ite Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki has accused supporters of Saddam Hussein's outlawed Baath party of plotting the attacks from neighboring Syria, triggering a diplomatic clash with Damascus that Iraq's president, an ethnic Kurd, and two vice presidents have sharply criticized.

"We do know there are some expat settlements that are inside Syria that are funding operations inside Iraq," Odierno said. "We have to continue to press Syria to take actions against some of these elements that continue to attempt to create instability inside Iraq."

Odierno also said he continued to see the security situation in Iraq as stable, shortly before the first loud explosion interrupted his remarks.

Since 2006, Washington has pressed Iraq's Kurdish, and Shi'ite and Sunni Arab leaders, with little success, to put aside differences and compromise on issues such as a new oil law to manage the world's third-largest oil reserves.

But with U.S. combat operations due to end in Iraq by August 2010, the United States is running out of time and influence among Iraq's leaders to achieve its goal -- to leave behind a relatively stable Iraq. A security pact with Iraq requires all U.S. troops to leave by 2012.

There is no longer any appetite in Washington for the Iraq war. The Obama administration is preoccupied with the deteriorating security situation in Afghanistan and rallying fading support among Americans and skeptical Democrats who control the U.S. Congress for the eight-year-old war there.

Iraqis have mixed feelings about what 6-1/2 years of U.S. military presence have achieved.

An Iraqi journalist who hurled his shoes at then President George W. Bush and called him a dog in December became a star amongst Iraqis fed up with years of military occupation and the sectarian slaughter it unleashed.

The reporter, Muntazer al-Zaidi, was released from prison on Tuesday to the delight of supporters, some of whom have offered sumptuous gifts, including a house, or their daughters' hands in marriage. He had been jailed for "assaulting a head of state."

Turkmenistan's Turkmennebit opens tender for purchase of equipment
Turkmenistan's Turkmennebit opens tender for purchase of equipment
Turkmengas re-opens tender for maintenance of gas turbine compressors
Turkmengas re-opens tender for maintenance of gas turbine compressors
Azerbaijani fund opens tender to design new residential houses for IDPs
Azerbaijani fund opens tender to design new residential houses for IDPs
Loading Bars
Latest
Footage of destruction of Armenian Armed Forces' military equipment, manpower published (VİDEO)
News spread by Armenian Defense Ministry that military operations being conducted in Khudaferin direction nonsense - Azerbaijani MoD
I want my dear people to know that the capture of every village and every height requires great courage - President Aliyev
We are saying whatever is possible today, says Azerbaijani president
Online election registry available for Georgian citizens residing abroad
We will continue to expel these liars, says Azerbaijani president
Armenia must declare before it is too late that it is withdrawing from occupied territories - President Aliyev
We are fighting alone and everyone knows that - President Aliyev
President Aliyev on destroyed and taken as military boot military equipment of Armenian armed forces
Armenian leadership already on their knees, we have shown them place they deserve - Azerbaijani president
Azerbaijan conducts military operations on its territory recognized by international community, says President Aliyev
Our fist is there not only to smash the enemy’s head. Our fist is a fist of unity - President Aliyev
AstraZeneca U.S. COVID-19 vaccine trial may resume as soon as this week
We are on the threshold of the Great Return - President Aliyev
Victorious Azerbaijani Army gaining new victories on battlefield, says Azerbaijani president
Professional journalist, Azerbaijan`s and AZERTAC`s friend He Ping appointed as President of Xinhua News Agency
They simply deceived us and international mediators - President Aliyev
Turkey reports 1,894 new COVID-19 cases, 351,413 in total
Int’l conference on 175th anniversary of Abai held in Kazakhstan
FLEX Alumni sends letter to attention of US Ambassador in Azerbaijan
Azerbaijan Air Defense Units destroy another UAV of Armenian armed forces
Senior diplomat: Iran has nothing to hide about Ukrainian plane incident
Armenian armed forces units in Gubadli direction destroyed (VİDEO)
Azerbaijan's MoD warns about sharing unnofficial information on social media
Azerbaijani ombudsman prepares report on Armenia’s shelling of Ganja with ballistic missiles
Three new cable cars built in Georgian Bakuriani
Azerbaijan destroys Armenian UAV flying in direction of Ganja
Azerbaijani Prosecutor General's Office files criminal cases on crimes committed by Armenian troops
Azerbaijan's MoD dismisses Armenia's information on Khudaferin
Permits for residential construction remain solid overall in Georgia - TBC Research
Iranian Energy Exchange announces products to be on sale October 21
Azerbaijan's Goranboy, Tartar subjected to artillery, missile fire from Armenia
Most of IUCN Red List flora, fauna species on Azerbaijan's occupied lands destroyed
Azerbaijani ministry predicts growth of electricity production by 2025
Azerbaijan reveals data on foreign trade turnover for 9M2020
Uzbekistan's official reserve assets decrease
Georgians arriving home with negative PCR tests not to be placed under mandatory quarantine
Georgia returns to third place in international hazelnut market
Preventive diplomacy is an integral part of Turkmenistan's neutrality - President of Turkmenistan
Islamophobia, Turkophobia – Armenia’s main disease, says Turkish presidential administration
Kazakhstan’s pharma company to build nonwoven fabric plant
Number of restored mines in Iran revealed
Kazakhstan's medical goods producing capacities to be increased before year-end
Turkmenistan significantly increases exports of cement products to Kazakhstan
Italy slows down on import of Turkish furniture
Turkmenistan's Turkmennebit opens tender for purchase of equipment
Azerbaijan confirms 128 more COVID-19 recoveries
Whole world should see Armenia targeting Azerbaijan's civilians - Speaker of Grand National Assembly of Turkey
Uzbekistan to attract carbon credits to create forest plantations
Kazakhstan's imports of furniture, wood from Turkey up within 9M2020
Baku Stock Exchange places Azerbaijan's Finance Ministry state bonds at auction
Iran's Central Bank increases working hours for legal exchange offices as foreign currency rate drops
Mehriban Aliyeva congratulated Azerbaijani people on liberation of several villages of Fuzuli, Jabrayil, Khojavand, Zangilan districts and the city of Zangilan
Israeli markets' demand for Turkish furniture rises
Review of Georgian exports to China
Iran`s President reacts to restriction of essential goods and medicine`s supply
Coronavirus spread reaches alarming state in some Iranian provinces
Kazakhstan's gov't decides on power plants' modernization methods in Almaty
Iranian Covid-19 vaccine to enter the human testing phase by early December
The dilemma of pricing of steel products in Iran stock exchange
Azerbaijani state service to put up state properties for auction
Bahar Azadi gold coin price still falling in Iran
Azerbaijan increases value of electricity production
Georgian Chestnuts Export plans to open production of chestnut flour
Iran car makers to offer 153,000 cars by the end of current Iranian year
Gasoline and methanol account for main part of Iran’s total export
2 civilians killed during shelling of Azerbaijan’s Tartar by Armenian armed forces
Azerbaijani FM meets with speaker of Turkish Grand National Assembly (PHOTO)
Iran to reinstated several mines
Iran's import of Turkish furniture down significantly
Iran to provide free electricity to low consumption users in Tehran
Kazakhstan, Norway trade turnover increases despite COVID-19
EPR approves creation of Human Security Trust Fund for Aral Sea region in Uzbekistan
Azerbaijan’s territorial integrity to be fully restored soon: Leader of Russian party
Azerbaijani banks foreign currency demand disclosed
Oil bitumen imports decline in Georgia
Russian research institute names necessary measures to mitigate pandemic impact on Turkmenistan
Kazakhstan’s KazMunayGas to create system for managing field development process
Iran, Syria are expected to barter trade
Azerbaijani president renames liberated village of Khojavand district
Azerbaijani Express Bank's assets decrease
Armenian Defense Ministry once again admits retreat
Azerbaijani flag in Zangilan city (VIDEO)
Turkish wood, furniture exports to Georgia down - Trade Ministry
Turkey's export of wood, furniture to Iraq declines
Azerbaijani minister talks benefits of hydrowater plants on border with Iran
Armenia's current leadership unable to solve real problems well - Russian political strategist
Azerbaijani president: Zangilan city and 6 villages of district, 18 villages of Fuzuli, Jabrayil and Khojavand districts liberated
Locally-made furniture exports to France increase, says Turkish Trade Ministry
Over 170 mb of ACG oil loaded from Ceyhan terminal
Regular direct flights by several airlines resume in Georgia
Imports of Turkish furniture by Morocco drops marginally
Iran reveals its COVID-19 data for October 20
Speaker of Turkish Grand National Assembly visits Azerbaijan’s Ganja (PHOTO/VIDEO)
Georgia to export fresh pinecones to EU market
Azerbaijan increases export of petrochemicals
EIB supports construction of Innovation Center in Georgia
President Ilham Aliyev addresses the nation (PHOTO)
Missile attacks on cities, its residents, civil objects inhuman - Kazakh ambassador in Azerbaijan
Azerbaijani servicemen contributing to victories of country's army (PHOTO)
All news