Counter Terrorism in Kurdistan: 12 ballistic missiles used in attack on Erbil

A missile attack has targeted a military base housing US forces in Erbil, the capital of Kurdistan region, and the US consulate in that region with 12 ballistic missiles.

At first, Iraqi media, citing Kurdish officials, reported that several missiles had landed in Erbil early Sunday, 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.

Reports suggested 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.

Some reports indicate that the alarm sirens have also been activated in the US embassy inside the highly secured Green Zone of the Iraqi capital, Baghdad.

American officials have claimed that that the attacks have been ensued with no casualties. A US State Department spokesperson called it an “outrageous attack” but said no Americans were hurt and there was no damage to US government facilities in Erbil.

The new missile attack is the latest in a series of such strikes targeting the US interests in Iraq.

Iraqi media say following the attack, American military aircraft carried out overflights over Erbil and civilian air transport has been suspended.

A fire has been also reported at the airbase housing the American troops in Erbil while sirens have gone off at US consulate there.A spokesperson for the regional authorities said there were no flight interruptions at Erbil airport.

Iraq’s President Barham Salih said that targeting Erbil “is a condemned terrorist crime and its timing is suspicious”. 

Salih said in a tweet “Targeting Erbil is a condemned terrorist crime, as its suspicious timing with the emergence of political détente signs, aims to obstruct the constitutional deadlines by forming a capable government.” 

He added, “We must stand firmly against attempts to plunge the country into chaos,” stressing “the need to be united in order to support the security forces, consolidate the state law and combat outlaw terrorists.”

For his part, Iraq’s Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi stressed that “the attack that targeted Erbil and terrorized its residents is a violation to the security of our people”. Al-Kadhimi tweeted

“The aggression which targeted the dear city of Erbil and spread fear amongst its inhabitants is an attack on the security of our people.I discussed these developments with the KRG PM. Our security forces will investigate and stand firm against any threats towards our people.” 

Earlier, the Security Media Cell announced that the security forces had conducted an investigation into the bombing incident that targeted Erbil.

US 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 US base in Erbil was attacked 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 US Embassy in Baghdad and Ain al-Asad Air Base in Iraq’s western province of Anbar.

The attacks come amid growing anti-US sentiment which intensified since assassination of top Iranian commander Lieutenant General Qassem Soleimani and the deputy head of the Popular Mobilization Units Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis in Baghdad.

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