Four rockets strike close to US military base in Erbil, Iraq

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Hind Al Soulia - Riyadh - Kurdistan Regional Government's anti-terrorism department confirms attack

Oct 1, 2020

October 1, 2020

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Four rockets struck near a US military base north-east of Erbil, northern Iraq on Wednesday night but did not cause any casualties among American troops.

The Kurdistan Regional Government's anti-terrorism department said six rockets were launched by the pro-Iran Hashed Al Shaabi militants at the Erbil international airport, but failed to reach their target. The US base is at the airport.

The department said the rockets were launched from Sheikh Amir village in Nineveh province and two of the six did not explode.

Videos on social media showed large fires in the area but no casualties.

"This area is controlled by Hashed Al Shaabi's 30th Brigade," the government said.

"Our special teams are seriously investigating in order to obtain more information."

US coalition spokesman Wayne Marotto tweeted that the base and American troops were not harmed.

The attack comes amid heightened tension between Tehran and Washington in Iraq.

The administration has told the Iraqi government that it is prepared to close its embassy in Iraq unless urgent action is taken to halt attacks on the mission and American soldiers.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo threatened to close the embassy during a call a week ago to President Barham Salih.

The sources said reports that diplomats may relocate to the relative safety of Erbil in Iraq’s Kurdish autonomous region were untrue and a closure would mean embassy staff leaving Iraq.

The reports seems even less likely after the attack on Erbil.

Washington blames Iran-backed militias for firing rockets at its embassy on a near-weekly basis for months, and for shelling Iraqi bases housing international troops, including many of the 5,000 US soldiers.

A rocket landed near Baghdad airport on Monday night killing three civilians and wounding two, Iraqi security officials said.

Updated: October 1, 2020 01:23 AM

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