On April 14th, a drone dropped explosives near U.S. forces stationed at Erbil airport in northern Iraq.
This was reported by Kurdish officials, and there were no casualties according to initial information.
“After the relevant authorities investigated the explosion at Erbil International Airport tonight, the results show that it was carried out by a TNT drone and directed at the Coalition forces at the airport. There are no casualties and the investigation continues to find the source and place of the drone,” the ministry said in a statement.
Before the statement by the interior ministry, the Kurdistan Region’s Counter Terrorism Unit said the airport had been hit by a rocket.
The US-led coalition said nobody was injured.
“An unmanned aerial surveillance system landed on a storage hangar at Erbil Air Base… A fire has been extinguished and damages are still being assessed,” the Coalition said.
A security cordon blocked all access to the airport, witnesses reported. The governor said air links were not interrupted.
“It seems the same militia who targeted the airport two months ago are at it again,” Iraq ‘s longtime former Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari, a prominent Kurdish political figure, posted on Twitter in an allusion to pro-Iranian factions.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack, which caused a loud explosion heard across the city.
A little-known group calling itself Awliyaa al-Dam (Guardians of Blood) claimed the February attack in Irbil and in a follow-up statement vowed to keep targeting U.S. forces in Iraq.
It didn’t assume responsibility but reportedly praised the attack, according to Reuters.
It was the first known attack carried out by an unmanned aerial drone against U.S. forces in Erbil, amid a steady stream of rocket attacks on bases hosting U.S. forces and the embassy in Baghdad that Washington blames on Iran-backed militias.
There have been, as mentioned earlier, rocket attacks.
A separate rocket attack killed a Turkish soldier at a military base nearby, the Turkish defence ministry said.
Shortly before the drone in Erbil, at least two rockets landed on and near a base to the west of the city that hosts Turkish forces, Iraqi security officials said. That attack killed a Turkish soldier, Ankara said.
The Iran-backed militias oppose both the presence of the United States and Turkey and demand a full withdrawal of all foreign troops.
Kurdistan Regional Government Prime Minister Masrour Barzani condemned both attacks.
“I condemn in the strongest terms tonight’s terror attacks on Erbil International Airport and Turkish military base in Bashiqa, and I condemn the terror group behind them,” PM Barzani said. “These recent attacks are a blatant attempt to undermine our security at home and our cooperation with the global coalition.”
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