The US shot down three one-way attack drones targeting US forces in Iraq, according to the US military, as American embassies face protests in a number of Middle East countries because of the war in Gaza.
In western Iraq, the US intercepted two drones, destroying one and damaging the other. The attack resulted in minor injuries to coalition forces, US Central Command said in statement.
A second attack in northern Iraq consisted of a single drone, which was destroyed, resulting in no injuries or damage.
“In this moment of heightened alert, we are vigilantly monitoring the situation in Iraq and the region,” the statement about the attack said.
It is unclear at this point who launched the drones or how they were shot down, but such attacks are frequently attributed to Iran or Iranian-backed militias in the region.
The tension in the region following a week of war in Gaza and an explosion at a hospital in Gaza that Palestinian officials say killed hundreds of civilians have sparked widespread outrage against both Israel and the United States.
Anti-Israel protests erupted in Lebanon, Iraq, Jordan, Iran and Turkey, and in Ramallah in the West Bank, following the blast at Al-Ahli Baptist Hospital in Gaza that killed hundreds of people. In Baghdad, security officials told CNN that security forces confronted protestors who tried to cross the bridge into the Green Zone, which houses the US embassy and Iraqi government offices.
Attacks on US forces in Iraq have become increasingly rare, especially as the US ended its combat mission in Iraq and transitioned to an advise-and-assist role to the Iraqi military.
But attacks do happen. In September of last year, a US F-15 fighter jet was scrambled to shoot down an Iranian drone that appeared to be heading for a US position in Erbil in Iraq.