As many as 12 missiles struck Iraq’s northern metropolis of Erbil on Sunday close to the U.S. consulate, Iraqi safety officers mentioned. A U.S. defence official mentioned missiles had been launched on the metropolis from neighbouring Iran.
No accidents have been reported. Officers in Iraq and the U.S. gave totally different accounts of the strike and the injury it induced. A second U.S. official mentioned there was no injury at any U.S. authorities facility and that there was no indication the goal was the consulate constructing, which is new and presently unoccupied.
An Iraqi official in Baghdad at first mentioned a number of missiles had hit the U.S. consulate and that it was the goal of the assault. Later, Lawk Ghafari, the top of Kurdistan’s international media workplace, mentioned not one of the missiles hit the U.S. facility however that areas across the compound had been hit by the missiles.
The U.S. defence official mentioned it was nonetheless not sure precisely what number of missiles have been fired and precisely the place they landed. Neither U.S. official was licensed to debate the occasion by title and spoke to The Related Press on situation of anonymity.
The Iraqi safety officers mentioned there have been no quick report of casualties from the assault, which they mentioned occurred shortly after midnight and induced materials injury within the space. They spoke on situation of anonymity in keeping with rules.
One of many Iraqi officers mentioned the ballistic missiles have been fired from Iran, with out elaborating. The U.S. officers couldn’t affirm the kind of missile.
The second U.S. official mentioned the incident was being investigated by the federal government of Iraq and the Kurdish Regional Authorities. The U.S. condemned what it known as an “outrageous assault in opposition to Iraqi sovereignty and show of violence,” the official mentioned in an announcement.
The assault got here a number of days after an Israeli strike close to Damascus, Syria, killed two members of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard. Iran’s international ministry strongly condemned the assault Wednesday and vowed revenge.
On Sunday, Iran’s state-run IRNA information company quoted Iraqi media acknowledging the assaults in Erbil, with out saying the place they originated.
Video reveals the second of the assault close to the Kurdistan 24 workplace that induced injury to the Kurdistan 24 constructing. <a href=”https://t.co/c0SBSIHRv4″>pic.twitter.com/c0SBSIHRv4</a>
Satellite tv for pc broadcast channel Kurdistan24, which is situated close to the U.S. consulate, went on air from their studio shortly after the assault, displaying shattered glass and particles on their studio ground.
A safety assertion mentioned Erbil was focused “with a lot of missiles” early Sunday, including that safety forces have been investigating the incident and would launch extra particulars later.
‘Pause’ in U.S.-Iran nuclear talks
The assault got here as negotiations in Vienna over Tehran’s tattered nuclear deal hit a “pause” over Russian calls for about sanctions concentrating on Moscow over its battle on Ukraine.
The highest U.S. commander for the Center East has repeatedly warned concerning the rising threats of assaults from Iran and Iranian-back militias on troops and allies in Iraq and Syria.
In an interview with The Related Press in December, Marine Gen. Frank McKenzie mentioned that whereas U.S. forces in Iraq have shifted to a non-combat position, Iran and its proxies nonetheless need all American troops to go away the nation. Because of this, he mentioned, which will set off extra assaults.’
The Biden administration determined final July to finish the U.S. fight mission in Iraq by Dec. 31, and U.S. forces progressively moved to an advisory position final 12 months. The troops will nonetheless present air assist and different navy support for Iraq’s battle in opposition to the Islamic State.
The U.S. presence in Iraq has lengthy been a flash level for Tehran, however tensions spiked after a January 2020 U.S. drone strike close to the Baghdad airport killed a high Iranian common. In retaliation, Iran launched a barrage of missiles at al-Asad airbase, the place U.S. troops have been stationed. Greater than 100 service members suffered traumatic mind accidents within the blasts.
Extra not too long ago, Iranian proxies are believed liable for an assassination try late final 12 months on Iraq’s Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi.
And officers have mentioned they consider Iran was behind the October drone assault on the navy outpost in southern Syria the place American troops are primarily based. No U.S. personnel have been killed or injured within the assault.
Al-Kadhimi tweeted: “The aggression which focused the pricey metropolis of Erbil and unfold concern amongst its inhabitants is an assault on the safety of our individuals.”
Masrour Barzani, prime minister of the semi-autonomous Kurdish-controlled area, condemned the assault. In a Fb put up, he mentioned Erbil “won’t bow to the cowards who carried out the terrorist assault.”