Middle East

Iraq: US forces hit in rocket assault that kills contractor

A rocket assault in northern Iraq killed a contractor and injured a number of others, together with a member of the U.S. service, on Monday within the deadliest assault on a U.S. goal within the nation in practically ‘a yr.

The rockets struck in and close to a army air base occupied by the US-led coalition at Erbil Worldwide Airport.

Two US officers stated the contractor who was killed was not American. The coalition stated 5 different contractors had been injured, with out giving particulars.

A spokesperson for the Kurdish regional authorities’s well being ministry stated one of many injured was in crucial situation.

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Erbil’s safety administration weren’t accessible for remark on the time of writing, following a request from Center East Eye.

An Iraqi coalition spokesman stated no less than 14 rockets hit three areas on Monday night.

He added that the KRG’s Inside Ministry would conduct an investigation in partnership with coalition forces.

The assault, claimed by a little-known group that some Iraqi officers say has ties to Iran, escalates rigidity within the Center East as Washington and Tehran discover a possible return to the Iran nuclear deal.

A bunch calling themselves Saraya Awliya al-Dam claimed duty for the assault on the US-led base, claiming it was concentrating on “the US occupation” in Iraq. He has offered no proof of his declare to be behind the assault.

“Nice safety breach”

A Peshmerga KRG official, who spoke on situation of anonymity, described the assault on MEE as “an enormous safety breach and a serious failure for all main Kurdish safety businesses”.

“How the rockets entered the area stays unsure, however it’s attainable that the personnel of the safety and army forces within the Kurdistan area collaborated with the perpetrators,” the official stated.

“The vary of the rockets fired was eight kilometers and the PMF [Iraqi Popular Mobilisation Forces] usually use these missiles. ”

The official added: “Following this catastrophe, the heads of Erbil’s important intelligence businesses needs to be faraway from their posts. The monetary disaster and inner conflicts within the area have affected the flexibility of the Peshmerga to meet their position within the border.”

“ Following this catastrophe, the heads of Erbil’s important intelligence businesses needs to be fired ”

– Official Peshmerga

The PMF, also referred to as Hashd al-Shaabi, has dismissed claims that his associated militias carried out the assault.

Sayed Ali Hosseini, PMF’s northern entrance relations chief, dismissed the allegations made to MEE and stated his forces weren’t within the space from which the assault was allegedly launched.

“[The] The PMF will not be positioned within the space from which the rockets had been launched, “Hosseini stated.” We reject all these accusations that accuse us of being behind the assaults. We are going to prosecute anybody who accuses us of finishing up the assaults with out proof. “

Hosseini added that he had by no means heard of the Awliya al-Dam militia and questioned in the event that they carried out the assault.

Tehran additionally on Tuesday denied having any ties to the group accountable for the assault and stated it was against any act that will undermine Iraq’s safety.

“Iran regards the steadiness and safety of Iraq as a key problem for the area … and rejects any motion which disturbs peace and order on this nation,” stated the spokesman for the Iranian ministry. from International Affairs Saeed Khatibzadeh to the media.

Armed teams aligned with Iran in Iraq and Yemen have launched assaults in opposition to the US and its Arab allies in latest weeks, together with a drone assault on a Saudi airport and rockets in opposition to the American embassy in Baghdad.

A lot of the incidents left no casualties, however stored the stress on US troops and their allies within the area early in Joe Biden’s presidency.

Biden’s administration is contemplating a return to the Iran nuclear deal, which his predecessor Donald Trump deserted in 2018, which aimed to curb Iran’s nuclear program.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken stated Monday night that the US was “outraged” by the assault.

In an announcement, Blinken stated he had contacted KRG Prime Minister Masrour Barzani “to debate the incident and to pledge our assist for all efforts to analyze and maintain these accountable to account.”

Reuters contributed to this report

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