Three Rockets Land in Erbil, Iraqi Kurdistan

Three Rockets Land in Erbil, Iraqi Kurdistan”

The identity of the attackers was not immediately clear, and American forces are often targeted by forces including ISIS, but American officials including former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo have blamed Iran-backed groups for previous strikes on USA forces in recent years.

Since then there have been a series of small-scale strikes on USA interests and those of its Gulf allies, including rocket attacks against the U.S. embassy in Baghdad and drone strikes on a Saudi airport, which analysts and security agencies believe were launched by Iran-backed militias in Iraq and Yemen.

More than a dozen rockets hit late Monday in areas between the civilian global airport in the city of Irbil in Iraq's semi-autonomous Kurdish-run region and the nearby base hosting USA troops.

A USA drone strike that killed Iran's military mastermind Qassem Soleimani in Baghdad in January 2020 sent the region to the brink of a full-scale confrontation.

The commercial airport shares space with a base for US and other anti-Islamic State coalition troops.

Three rockets fell on Monday near the worldwide airport of Erbil in Iraqi Kurdistan, al-Sumaria broadcaster reported.

The United States military has drawn down the number of its troops in Iraq to under 2,500 and has pulled out of several bases there over the past two years.

The local Kurdish authorities said three people in Irbil were also injured, one critically.

It's the first time in 2 months that United States installations have been targeted in Iraq.

The coalition did not reveal the nationality of the civilian contractor who was killed.

Security forces gather following a rocket attack in Arbil the capital of the northern Iraqi Kurdish autonomous region
Security forces gather following a rocket attack in Irbil the capital of the northern Iraqi Kurdish autonomous region Feb. 15 2021

At least two civilians were also wounded and the rockets damaged cars and other property, security officials said, without providing more details.

Kurdish counter-terrorism forces said they had found the vehicle the rockets were launched from but did not say where it was discovered.

The attack was claimed online by a shadowy group calling itself "Awliyaa al-Dam", or "Guardians of Blood". It was not immediately clear where the fire was located, but one area resident posted that it was on the edge of the airport.

Iraqi and even USA officials have told AFP in recent weeks that it was not clear whether the Joe Biden administration would pursue the same "tripwire".

Smoke rises over Irbil on Feb 15, 2021.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the U.S. was pledging its support for investigating the attack and holding accountable those who were responsible. Mr Blinken later condemned the attack.

Tuesday, the Prime Minister of Iraq Mustafa Al-Kadhimi announced that the regional government has launched an investigation to determine what caused the fatal attack on Iraq's Erbil International Airport.

One civilian contractor was killed and six other people were injured in a rocket attack in Iraq on Monday.

Under former US President Donald Trump, Washington had vowed that the killing of an American national in such a rocket attack would prompt a mass bombing campaign in Iraq, although Iraqi officials are unsure if the Biden administration would stick to the policy.

In turn, Iran denied any links to the fatal attack.

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