BAGHDAD (Reuters) - A rocket was fired in Iraqi capital Baghdad's heavily-fortified Green Zone, which houses government buildings and foreign embassies, but caused no casualties, the Iraqi military said on Sunday.
A blast was heard in central Baghdad on Sunday night, Reuters witnesses said and two Baghdad-based diplomatic sources also said they heard the blast.
"A Katyusha rocket fell in the middle of the Green Zone without causing any losses, details to come later," the military said in a brief statement.
The Katyusha multiple rocket launcher is an inexpensive type of rocket artillery that can deliver explosives to a target quicker than conventional artillery, but is less accurate.
Police special forces found a rocket launcher in al-Sina'a district in eastern Baghdad and have sealed off the area, a police source told Reuters. An ordinance disposal team from the Baghdad Operations Command was on its way to inspect it, he said.
Police were searching for suspects in the area, he said, adding that the U.S. embassy was not hit by the rocket.
The embassy in Baghdad and the U.S. consulate in the Iraqi Kurdish regional capital Erbil evacuated non-emergency staff this week.
President Donald Trump's administration has said it sent additional forces to the region to counter what it called credible threats from Iran against U.S. interests, including from militias it supports in Iraq.
Iran and the United States have both said they do not want war as tensions between them increase.
(Reporting by Ahmed Rasheed, John Davison, and Ahmed Aboulenein; Writing by Ahmed Aboulenein; Editing by Mark Potter and Emelia Sithole-Matarise)
The Marine lieutenant colonel removed from command of the 1st Reconnaissance Battalion in May was ousted over alleged "misconduct" but has not been charged with a crime, Task & Purpose has learned.
Lt. Col. Francisco Zavala, 42, who was removed from his post by the commanding general of 1st Marine Division on May 7, has since been reassigned to the command element of 1st Marine Expeditionary Force, and a decision on whether he will be charged is "still pending," MEF spokeswoman 1st Lt. Virginia Burger told Task & Purpose last week.
"We are not aware of any ongoing or additional investigations of Lt. Col. Zavala at this time," MEF spokesman 2nd Lt. Brian Tuthill told Task & Purpose on Monday. "The command investigation was closed May 14 and the alleged misconduct concerns Articles 128 and 133 of the UCMJ," Tuthill added, mentioning offenses under military law that deal with assault and conduct unbecoming an officer and gentleman.
"There is a period of due process afforded the accused and he is presumed innocent until proven guilty," he said.
When asked for an explanation for the delay, MEF officials directed Task & Purpose to contact 1st Marine Division officials, who did not respond before deadline.
The investigation of Zavala, completed on May 3 and released to Task & Purpose in response to a Freedom of Information Act request, showed that he had allegedly acted inappropriately. The report also confirmed some details of his wife's account of alleged domestic violence that Task & Purpose first reported last month.
On Monday, Staff Sgt. Daniel Christopher Evans received a suspended sentence of 60 days in jail, said Samantha Dooies, an assistant to the New Hanover County District Attorney.
Evans must complete 18 months of unsupervised probation, pay $8,000 in restitution, complete a domestic violence offenders program, and he cannot have any contact with his former girlfriend, Dooies told Task & Purpose. The special operations Marine is also only allowed to have access to firearms though the military while on base or deployed.