Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Fires Ballistic Missiles Into Iraq’s Kurdish Capital

Creator: AZAD LASHKARI | Credit: REUTERS

Iran’s Revolutionary Guards claimed responsibility for a dozen ballistic missiles that struck Iraq’s northern Kurdish regional capital of Erbil in the early hours of Sunday, Iran’s state media reported, adding that the attack was against Israeli “strategic centres” in Erbil.

The missiles targeted the U.S. consulate among other sites, according to the Kurdish regional government.

The missile attack comes as talks to revive the 2015 Iran nuclear deal face the prospect of collapse after a last-minute Russian demand forced world powers to pause negotiations for an undetermined time despite having a largely completed text. read more

The missiles, which targeted the U.S. consulate’s new building and a neighbouring residential area, caused only material damage and one civilian was injured, the Kurdish interior ministry said. An Iraqi security official told Reuters that the missiles were manufactured in Iran.

Iran’s Revolutionary Guards released a statement taking responsibility for the missile attack against Israeli “strategic centres” in Erbil, Iran’s state media reported.

“Any repetition of attacks by Israel will be met with a harsh, decisive and destructive response,” the Revolutionary Guard said in the statement.

A U.S. official blamed Iran for the attack earlier on Sunday but did not give further details.

A Kurdish spokesperson for the regional authorities said that Sunday’s attack only targeted civilian residential areas, not a foreign base and called on the international community to carry out an investigation.

Separately, a U.S. State Department spokesperson called it an “outrageous attack” but said no Americans were hurt and there was no damage to U.S. government facilities in Erbil. U.S. Ambassador to Iraq Mathew H. Tueller condemned the attack and said “Iranian regime elements have claimed responsibility for this attack and must be held accountable.”

France’s foreign ministry said Sunday’s missile strike on Erbil threatened efforts to conclude nuclear talks with Iran.

U.S. forces stationed at Erbil’s international airport complex have in the past come under fire from rocket and drone attacks that Washington blames on Iran-aligned militia groups, but no such attacks have occurred for several months.

Asked about Sunday’s attack, Israel’s military said it did not comment on reports in the foreign press and the prime minister’s office declined to comment.