Three large explosions near the American Embassy shook downtown Baghdad Tuesday night, just as Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. was scheduled to be in the compound visiting American officials.
It was unclear if he was in the building at the time of the attack and whether the embassy itself had been struck.
The first two mortars struck an apartment complex across the street from the embassy, according to a Western security adviser who was in the area. An ambulance and fire engine were seen driving toward the complex.
An American surveillance helicopter and an attack helicopter circled the area across the river from the embassy, moving in the direction of the Sadr City district, a frequent launching site for attacks. Iraqi witnesses said they saw flashes, like those associated with mortar fire, coming from the Karada neighborhood, about two miles from the embassy. (continues here at NYT)