Late on April 6, a rocket attack targeted an oil refinery in the district of Khabat in the Kurdistan Region in northern Iraq.
“This evening, three rockets landed near an oil refinery in the district of Khabat on the border between Erbil and Nineveh,” the Directorate General of Counter Terrorism in Kurdistan said in a statement.
The rockets were launched from the district of al-Hamdaniya in Nineveh. At the launch site, security forces found what appears to be a Arash-4 rocket that failed to fire.
The Arash-4 122 mm rocket is made by Iran’s Defense Industries Organization. The rocket has a maximum range of 40 kilometers and is armed with a HE-FRAG [High Explosive – Fragmentation] warhead. This type of rockets was used by pro-Iranian factions in Iraq in a number of previous attacks.
In March, Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps launched a dozen ballistic missiles at an Erbil city, the capital of the Kurdistan Region. The guards said that the target was an Israeli intelligence center. However, Reuters said that the strike hit the villa of a Kurdish businessman involved in the Kurdistan region’s energy sector. According to a recent report by the news agency, the strike was a response to a plan by the autonomous region to supply gas to Turkey and Europe with Israeli help.
The rocket attack on Khabat refinery may be a warning by pro-Iranian factions to the Kurdistan Region Government against any cooperating with Israel, or a provocation meant to mount more pressure on Tehran’s allies in Iraq.