In response to an Israeli attack in Syria that killed two members of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard, Iran has claimed responsibility for the missile barrage that landed early Sunday near the large U.S. consulate in the Iraqi city of Erbil.
This was a huge step up in tensions between the United States and Iran, however, no one was hurt in the strike. In Iraq, where the governments of both nations are aligned, the animosity between the two countries has frequently been on display.
Iran’s Revolutionary Guard has claimed responsibility for the strike on an Israeli “strategic center of conspiracy” in Erbil, according to a statement on its website. It did not clarify, but in a statement cited the recent attack that killed two Revolutionary Guards as proof that Israel had been on the offensive.
U.S. authorities and Iraqi security officials have previously claimed that the attack was launched from Iran.
Initially, an Iraqi official in Baghdad claimed that the US embassy in Erbil had been hit by many missiles and that it was the intended target of the strike. Afterward, Lawk Ghafari, the director of Kurdistan’s international media office, stated no missiles had hit the US facility, but that the surrounding region had been damaged. There was no mention of Iran in a statement released by Iraq’s Kurdistan regional government’s interior ministry.
According to a US military official, the actual number of missiles launched and where they landed are yet unknown. It has been reported that no damage was done to any US government facilities, including the new consulate building, which is now vacant, according to a second US official.
The Iraqi and US officials talked to the AP News on condition of anonymity because they were not allowed to speak to the media about the incident.
KURDISTAN 24 went live from their studio near the U.S. embassy immediately after the incident and displayed images of smashed glass and debris on the floor.
In response to an Israeli strike on Syria that killed two Iranian Revolutionary Guard men, Iran declared it will reply. Iraqi media acknowledged the strikes in Erbil on Sunday, but Iran’s IRNA news agency did not identify the source of the attacks.
The Erbil strike, which happened after midnight and inflicted material damage in the vicinity, did not result in any deaths, according to Iraqi security authorities. They requested anonymity in accordance with the law.
According to one of the Iraqi authorities, Iran was the source of the ballistic missiles. According to him, the rockets were presumably shot in reprisal for the deaths of two Revolutionary Guards in Syria.
A U.S official called the incident an “outrageous attack against Iraqi sovereignty and display of violence.”
There have been previous incidents of rocket and drone assaults on U.S. personnel stationed in Erbil’s airport facility, which the United States has blamed on Iranian-backed militants.
In recent months, the top American commander in the Middle East has warned that Iran and Iranian-backed militias are increasingly threatening assaults on US soldiers and allies stationed in Iraq and Syria.
As Marine Gen. Frank McKenzie said to the Associated Press in December, Iran and Iranian proxies want all American troops out of Iraq, despite US forces’ change to a non-combat mission. Then, he warned, it might lead to additional attacks.
U.S. soldiers progressively transitioned to an advisory role last year after the Biden administration chose to stop the country’s combat mission in Iraq by the end of the year. The forces will continue to help Iraq’s battle against ISIS by providing air support and other military assistance.
The presence of the United States in Iraq has been a source of friction between Washington and Tehran for long, but tensions reached a new high in January 2020 with the death of a senior Iranian commander in a drone attack near the Baghdad airport. Angry with the U.S. presence, Iran fired a series of missiles towards the al-Asad airfield. The explosions inflicted traumatic brain injuries on more than 100 military men.
The murder attempt on Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi, who was shot in the head last year, is thought to have been carried out by Iranian proxies.
As for the October drone strike on an American military installation in southern Syria, authorities think it was carried out by Iran. There were no American casualties or injuries in the strike.
Iraq’s beloved city of Erbil was the victim of an onslaught that generated panic among the city’s residents, according to Al-Kadhimi on Twitter.
The semi-autonomous Kurdish region’s prime minister, Masrour Barzani, denounced the assault. Erbil “will not bow to the cowards who carried out the terrorist attack,” he said in a Facebook post.