Iraqi media and military sources say a missile attack has targeted a military base housing the American forces in the capital of the Iraqi semi-autonomous Kurdistan region, Erbil, as well as the U.S. consulate in that region.
At first, Iraqi media, citing Kurdish officials, reported that several missiles had landed in Erbil early March 13, but there were no confirmed casualties so far from the incident.
Later reports, quoting Kurdistan region’s intelligence sources, said as many as 12 ballistic missiles were used in Erbil attack.
“Twelve ballistic missiles were launched from outside Iraq to target Erbil,” the state news agency quoted the Directorate General of Counter Terrorism in the Kurdistan region as saying.
There are also reports suggesting that Washington’s new consulate building and two advanced training centers run by Israeli spy agency, Mossad, in Erbil have been targeted in the missile attack.
Security forces were on high alert, and the roads to Erbil airport were closed.
Some reports indicate that the alarm sirens were activated in the U.S. embassy inside the highly secured Green Zone of the Iraqi capital, Baghdad.
American officials have claimed that the attacks have been ensued with no casualties. A U.S. State Department spokesperson called it an “outrageous attack” but said no Americans were hurt and there was no damage to U.S. government facilities in Erbil.
The new missile attack is the latest in a series of such strikes targeting the U.S. interests in Iraq.
Iraqi media say following the attack, American military aircraft have been carrying out overflights over Erbil and civilian air transport has been suspended.
A fire was also reported at the airbase housing the American troops in Erbil while sirens have gone off at U.S. consulate there.
A spokesperson for the regional authorities said there were no flight interruptions at Erbil airport.
U.S. forces stationed at Erbil’s international airport complex have come under frequent attacks carried out by missiles and drones, but no such attacks had occurred for several months.
In September 2021, the U.S. base in Erbil came under attack by at least three kamikaze drones as a result of which the area’s sirens went off and smoke was seen billowing out.
Earlier in July 2021, the base was attacked by explosive-laden drones, with reports falling short of providing details on the number of possible casualties or the extent of damage.
The attack followed drone and rocket attacks targeting the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad and Ain al-Asad Air Base in Iraq’s western province of Anbar.
The attacks come amid growing anti-U.S. sentiment, which has intensified since assassination of top Iranian anti-terror commander Lieutenant General Qassem Soleimani in Baghdad.
General Soleimani, the commander of the Quds Force of Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC), and his Iraqi trenchmate Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, the deputy head of the Popular Mobilization Units, were targeted along with their companions on January 3, 2020, in a terror drone strike authorized by former U.S. president Donald Trump near Baghdad International Airport.
Following the American drone attack, the Iraqi parliament voted overwhelmingly in favor of a law mandating full withdrawal of all foreign forces from the country’s soil. (PressTV.ir)