Iraq, international coalition confirms one person was killed and 5 others injured by missile attacks on a US base in Erbil
Security sources belonging to the Kurdish forces of the Peshmerga announced on Monday evening, February 15, 2021, that at least three mortar bombs landed near the international airport of Erbil, in the semi-autonomous region of Iraqi Kurdistan. Several explosions were heard and a fire was seen burning for a few minutes in the vicinity of the airport. One of the security sources cited by Reuters said at least five rockets landed in the airport perimeter.
It was not immediately clear whether the attack targeted a military base hosting US forces near the airport. Security officials said Erbil airport was closed and flights suspended for security reasons. Kurdish authorities said one of the bullets landed near a residential area, injuring three people. Video footage broadcast by local TV channels showed wrecked cars and shattered glass in the attack’s target area.
The International Coalition in Iraq only overnight confirmed that the missile attack on the northern city of Erbil targeted the US-led coalition military base, killing one civilian contractor and wounding five others, including a US soldier.This is the deadliest attack on international forces in nearly a year, after tensions escalated between US forces and their Iraqi and Kurdish allies on the one hand and militias allied with Iran and Turkey on the other.
Kurdish security sources said at least three missiles landed near Erbil International Airport in the autonomous region late at night, and Reuters correspondents reported several powerful explosions, as well as a fire that broke out near the airport, where U.S. forces I’m stationed.
An al-Qaeda-related group calling itself the “Awliya al-Dam Brigades” claimed responsibility for the attack, saying it targeted the “American occupation” of Iraq. New US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken, commenting on the news, said the US was “angry” at the attack. Blinkin in his statement said he had contacted the Prime Minister of the Kurdistan Regional Government, Masrour Barzani, to discuss the incident and pledged to support all efforts to investigate and bring those responsible to justice.
Groups that Iraqi officials say have ties with Iran have claimed responsibility for a series of missile attacks and roadside bombs against coalition forces, coalition contractors, and US facilities, including the embassy in Baghdad. in the last months. On September 30, 2021, six Katyusha rockets landed near Erbil airport, an attack that the Iraqi Kurdistan Counter-Terrorism Service attributed to Iraqi Shiite armed groups backed by the Islamic Republic of Iran.