Byline: Andy Woodcock
Iraqi rebels fired a salvo of mortar shells at coalition headquarters in Baghdad yesterday -demonstrating their ability to strike at the seat of US power in the Iraqi capital.
There were no injuries in the attack and only light damage was reported to a building in the socalled Green Zone, the area housing the headquarters of the US-led coalition, a military spokesman said.
It was the first such attack since US forces mounted a massive counter-offensive in Baghdad last month -dubbed Operation Iron Hammer -aimed at preventing strikes against the coalition's military and civilian targets.
Charles Krohn, a US defence spokesman at the Pentagon, said by telephone from his room inside the Green Zone that he heard the explosions. 'I heard what appeared to be incoming mortar rounds,' Mr Krohn said. 'I was shaken and I heard a couple of thumps. I felt the vibrations.'
The zone includes the Al Rasheed Hotel, which was rocketed on October 26 in an attack that killed a US colonel and wounded 18 other people. Deputy US Defence Secretary Paul Wolfowitz was staying in the hotel at the time but escaped injury. Yesterday's shelling came just hours after three suicide bombers in a furniture truck blew themselves up at the gates of a US Army base in Ramadi, 60 miles west of Baghdad, killing one soldier and wounding 14 others. It was the third suicide attack on American troops in Iraq this week.
The region around Ramadi and the nearby city of Fallujah is one of the most dangerous for coalition troops and sits in the socalled Sunni Triangle, where the majority of US deaths in hostile action have occurred since President Bush declared an end to major combat on May 1. …