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Rocket attack near US military base in Iraq, killing one, injuring eight – NBC10 Philadelphia

Iraqi security and coalition officials said a rocket was attacked late Monday outside the nearby Erbil International Airport, where U.S. forces are based in northern Iraq, killing one U.S.-led coalition contractor and killing at least eight. He reported that a person was injured.

At least three rockets attacked the area between a semi-autonomous Kurdish-operated private airport and a nearby base containing US troops at 9:30 pm. No one immediately claimed responsibility.

A coalition spokesman, Colonel Wayne Marotte, said in a statement posted on social media that one of the coalition’s private contractors was killed and five others were injured. He said one US military officer was also injured. He did not reveal the nationality of the dead contractor, saying it was under investigation.

At least two civilians were also injured, causing serious damage to cars and other property, security officials said without giving details. According to a statement from the Kurdistan Ministry of Interior, “several people” were injured based on a preliminary investigation. The rocket was launched from the area south of Ilville near the Kirkuk border and fell into several residential areas near the airport.

Authorities spoke on condition of regulatory anonymity.

Iraqi President Balham Sari accused the attack of showing “dangerous escalation” in a statement posted online.

Kurdish officials have warned Erbil residents to stay home away from the targeted areas, according to a statement from the Interior Ministry.

Attacks targeting Erbil airport are rare. The attack on Monday struck the area for the first time in five months.

On September 30, six rockets were launched near the airport. Kurdish officials said they were launched from a pickup truck in the federal-controlled town of Bartella near Nineveh Governorate. Kurdish authorities have accused the Shiite militia group.

Hoshiyar Zebari, a member of the Kurdistan Democratic Party’s Politburo, said security officials were investigating the cause of the attack. “There will be consequences for the criminal. This attack will be intolerable,” he tweeted.

Rocket attacks often target the US presence in Baghdad, including the US Embassy, ​​and convoys carrying supplies for US-led coalitions.

The frequency of attacks declined at the end of last year, prior to the inauguration of US President Joe Biden. The United States under the former Trump administration has accused Iran-backed groups of carrying out the attack. Tensions increased after a Washington-led drone strike that killed Iran’s top General Kasim Soleimani and powerful Iraqi militia leader Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis last year.

Mr. Trump said the death of a US contractor was a red line, causing the US to expand in Iraq. In December 2019, the killing of a U.S. private contractor in a rocket attack in Kirkuk triggered a tit-for-tat battle in Iraq’s soil, putting the country at risk of proxy war.

US troops have been significantly reduced to 2,500 in Iraq and are no longer involved in combat missions with Iraqi troops in ongoing operations against Islamic State groups.


The Associated Press writer Samya Kullab contributed to this report.

Rocket attack near US military base in Iraq, killing one, injuring eight – NBC10 Philadelphia

Source link Rocket attack near US military base in Iraq, killing one, injuring eight – NBC10 Philadelphia

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