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Explosive-laden drone targets Erbil airport housing US troops

  2021-07-07  | 
 Zhyan News Network
The entrance of Erbil International Airport, Kurdistan Region, Iraq, 24 December 2019. Photo by AFP
 Zhyan News Network

SULAIMANI – An explosive-laden drone attacked International Erbil Airport housing the US troops in the Kurdistan Region capital of Erbil late on Tuesday (July 6), leaving no casualties, according to local sources.

The attack occurred at around 11:30 pm that left no casualties or material damage other than a bushfire, the Kurdistan Counterterrorism Department (CTD) said in a statement.

“Initial report: At approx. 11:15 PM local time, one UAS impacted in vicinity of Erbil Air Base, Iraq. At this time initial reports indicate no injuries, casualties or damage,” Wyane Marotto, the spokesperson for the US-led Coalition Combined Joint Task Force-Operation Inherent Resolve (CJTF-OIR), tweeted.

Hours earlier in the same day three rockets had targeted an air base Anbar governorate wets of, which also housed the US troops.

“This is a terrorist attack on Erbil. Fortunately, it left no human loses and Erbil is calm,” Erbil Governor Omed Khoshnaw said. “The security of the capital can not be spoiled by anyone and side. Erbil will stay calm.” 

Co-President of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan Lahur Sheikh Jangi als denounced the Erbil attack saying “these continuous attacks are dangerous.”

“The Kurdistan Regional Government and Federal Government must ensure better coordination between them to avoid these dangers,” Jangi added. 

“I strongly condemn last night's cowardly attack on U.S base at Erbil International Airport, our national security have made instant investigation to ensure perpetrators will be dealt with,” Kurdistan Region Vice President Jaafar Sheikh Mustafa said.

“The safety of coalition forces in KRI is our priority,” Sheikh Mustafa added, referring to the Kurdistan Region of Iraq. 

The head of the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI), Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert condemned the attack in a tweet.

“These constant attacks, last night again in Erbil, are an affront to the rule of law,” Hennis-Plasschaert. 

“Such acts are pushing the country towards the unknown, with the Iraqi people potentially paying a high price. The legitimacy of the State must not be threatened by callous armed actors.”

Member of political bureau of, Asaiib Ahl al-Haq, another militia Saad Al-Saadi said the Erbil attack was response to the US airstrike on the militia groups.

“The coming days will witness an escalation in the pace of qualitative operations against the American presence until this administration complies with the Iraqi parliament's decision to leave Iraq and respect Iraqi sovereignty,” al-Assadi told Shafaq News. 

Erbil are sometimes subjected to rocket and drone attacks by shadowy groups. Erbil houses the US troops and a consulate general.

US and its allies accuse Iran-backed militia groups within the Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF) of conducting such projectile and rocket attacks. 

“We have previously warned you that if your flight is delayed again, we will have to use other methods to strike you deep in the bases of your occupation. in the air,” Saraya Awliya al-Dam, another militia group, said following the attack, issued by Sabereen News aligned with the hardened militia groups.

On June 26, multiple sites near the new premises of the US Consulate General in Erbil province were targeted by explosive-laden drones. 

A drone dropped explosives near US forces stationed at Erbil airport in Erbil on April 14, with no reports of casualties.

A barrage of rockets hit a US-led military base in the Erbil International Airport vicinity in February, killing a non-American contractor working with the US military and a civilian.

On March 30, six rocket launchers were seized in Kirkuk’s Prde area (Altun Kupri) town along Erbil-Kirkuk border.

The US recently offered up to $3 million bounty for information on attacks targeting its interests in Iraq. 

The militia groups aligned with Iran are against the presence of the foreign forces including the US troops. 

Iran’s Consul-General in Sulaimani governorate Mahdi Shoustari denied his country’s involvement in the rocket and drone attacks targeting Erbil.

Abu Alaa al-Walae, the commander of Iran-backed Iraqi militia group Kata'ib Sayyid al-Shuhada (KSS), vowed to retaliate against America for the deaths of four of his men in a US airstrike along the Iraq-Syria border last month, saying it will be a military operation everyone will talk about. 

(Zhyan English)

*This story was updated at 02:28 pm EBL on Wednesday (July 7)