BAGHDAD (Dispatches) – At least nine police officers have sustained injuries after a grenade was hurled at security forces in the Iraqi capital city of Baghdad, as a wave of protests over unemployment, corruption and lack of public services continue in the country.
Major General Abdul Karim Khalaf, the spokesman for the Commander-in-Chief of the Iraqi Armed Forces, told the official Iraqi News Agency on Wednesday that the attack took place on police forces stationed at a checkpoint on historic al-Rasheed Street and close to the Central Bank of Iraq.
Khalaf added that four security personnel were critically injured in the attack.
A day earlier, a rocket barrage hit a western Iraqi airbase accommodating American forces, which has notoriously hosted surprise visits by the U.S. president and his second-in-command.
An Iraqi military statement cited by Reuters said a total of five projectiles came down on Ain al-Asad Airbase in Iraq’s al-Anbar Province on Tuesday.
No casualties were reported, the statement added, giving no further details. No person or group has yet claimed responsibility.
Last December, U.S. President Donald Trump paid an unannounced visit to the facility, which had not been cleared with Baghdad in advance, prompting both Iraqi civilians and politicians to protest its intrusive manner.
Following Trump’s visit, some Iraqi lawmakers even proposed that the country expel the U.S. forces in response to Washington’s disregard for their country’s sovereignty.
Last month, U.S. Vice President Mike Pence paid an identically-unauthorized "surprise” visit to the outpost under the pretext of celebrating Thanksgiving with the troops.
Several rocket attacks have been reported on Iraqi bases hosting U.S. troops as well as foreign missions in Baghdad since October, when street protests broke out in several Iraqi cities over economic woes.
Protests have often turned violent, with clashes between security forces and protesters.