BAGHDAD (Reuters) - A rocket attack on Baghdad’s international Green Zone on Thursday killed two Ugandans and a Peruvian working for a U.S. security contractor hired to protect U.S. facilities in Iraq, the U.S. embassy said.
The Green Zone lies on the bank of the Tigris River in the heart of the Iraqi capital and hosts government ministries, parliament and government officials’ homes as well as foreign embassies, including the massive U.S. embassy complex.
Fifteen people, two of them American, were wounded in the attack, the embassy said in a statement.
The dead and wounded all worked for the contractor Triple Canopy, a firm based in Herndon, Virginia, founded by U.S. special forces veterans. Its guards man security checkpoints for the embassy and U.S. military facilities in Iraq.
“This cruel and senseless attack will not deter the United States from carrying out its goal of working with the Iraqi government and people to build a democratic future,” the embassy said.
Violence in Iraq has subsided sharply since the sectarian slaughter of 2006-07, when tens of thousands of people were killed. But scores of civilians die each month in bombings and shootings.
U.S. forces are scheduled to end combat operations formally on August 31, more than seven years after the invasion that ousted former dictator Saddam Hussein.
The United States has about 70,000 troops in Iraq and plans to cut that number to 50,000 by the end of next month, ahead of a full withdrawal by 2012.
Reporting by Jim Loney; editing by Andrew Roche