June 26, 2022

As many as 12 missiles have been fired Sunday towards the U.S. consulate in Iraq’s northern metropolis of Irbil, Iraqi safety officers mentioned. A U.S. protection official mentioned missiles had been launched on the metropolis from neighbouring Iran.

Officers in Iraq and the U.S. gave completely different accounts of harm. A second U.S. official mentioned there was no harm and no casualties at any U.S. authorities facility, however Iraqi officers mentioned a number of missiles had hit the U.S. consulate. The consulate constructing is new and presently unoccupied.

The U.S. protection official, who spoke on situation of anonymity as a result of data was nonetheless coming in, mentioned it was nonetheless not sure precisely what number of missiles have been fired and precisely the place they landed.

The Iraqi safety officers mentioned there have been no rapid report of casualties from the assault, which occurred shortly after midnight and triggered materials harm within the space. They spoke on situation of anonymity according to laws.

One of many Iraqi officers mentioned the ballistic missiles have been fired from Iran, with out elaborating. The U.S. officers couldn’t affirm the kind of missile.

The second U.S. official mentioned the incident was being investigated by the federal government of Iraq and the Kurdish Regional Authorities. The U.S. condemned what it known as an “outrageous assault towards Iraqi sovereignty and show of violence,” the official mentioned in an announcement.

The assault got here a number of days after an Israeli strike close to Damascus, Syria, killed two members of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard. Iran’s overseas ministry strongly condemned the assault Wednesday and vowed revenge.

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On Sunday, Iran’s state-run IRNA information company quoted Iraqi media acknowledging the assaults in Irbil, with out saying the place they originated.

Satellite tv for pc broadcast channel Kurdistan24, which is situated close to the U.S. consulate, went on air from their studio shortly after the assault, displaying shattered glass and particles on their studio flooring.

A safety assertion mentioned Irbil was focused “with a variety of missiles” early Sunday, including that safety forces have been investigating the incident and would launch extra particulars later.

The assault comes as negotiations in Vienna over Tehran’s tattered nuclear deal hit a “pause” over Russian calls for about sanctions focusing on Moscow over its struggle on Ukraine.

The highest U.S. commander for the Center East has repeatedly warned in regards to the growing threats of assaults from Iran and Iranian-back militias on troops and allies in Iraq and Syria.

In an interview with The Related Press In December, Marine Gen. Frank McKenzie mentioned that whereas U.S. forces in Iraq have shifted to a noncombat function, Iran and its proxies nonetheless need all American troops to depart the nation. In consequence, he mentioned, that will set off extra assaults.’

The Biden administration determined final July to finish the U.S. fight mission in Iraq by Dec. 31, and U.S. forces progressively moved to an advisory function final yr. The troops will nonetheless present air assist and different army support for Iraq’s combat towards the Islamic State.

The U.S. presence in Iraq has lengthy been a flash level for Tehran, however tensions spiked after a January, 2020, U.S. drone strike close to the Baghdad airport killed a prime Iranian basic. In retaliation, Iran launched a barrage of missiles at al-Asad air base, the place U.S. troops have been stationed. Greater than 100 service members suffered traumatic mind accidents within the blasts.

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Extra lately, Iranian proxies are believed accountable for an assassination try late final yr on Iraq’s Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi.

And officers have mentioned they imagine Iran was behind the October drone assault on the army outpost in southern Syria the place American troops are primarily based. No U.S. personnel have been killed or injured within the assault.

Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi tweeted: “The aggression which focused the expensive metropolis of Irbil and unfold concern amongst its inhabitants is an assault on the safety of our folks.”

Masrour Barzani, prime minister of the semi-autonomous Kurdish-controlled area, condemned the assault. In a Fb put up, he mentioned Irbil “won’t bow to the cowards who carried out the terrorist assault.”