A dozen ballistic missiles struck Iraq’s northern Kurdish regional capital Erbil early Sunday morning, local officials said.
The missiles were launched from the “east outside Iraq’s borders” towards a new United States consulate building and residential areas, according to a statement from the Kurdistan Regional Government. The attack damaged buildings and homes and one person was “lightly wounded,” the statement said.
Iran borders Iraq to its east, though the statement did not name the country. There was no immediate information on claims of responsibility for the attack.
Initial reports shared on social media had claimed the missiles may have struck the US consulate building, but Lawk Ghafuri, press spokesperson for the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG), said Sunday that only areas around the compound were hit.
“None of the missiles hit the new US consulate which is still under construction in Erbil,” Ghafuri said in a statement on Twitter, attributed to the Kurdistan Counter Terrorism Forces.
A US State Department spokesperson confirmed to CNN there was no damage to or casualties at any US government facility and the incident is being investigated by the government of Iraq and the Kurdish Regional Government. The spokesperson added, “We condemn this outrageous attack and display of violence.”
Masrour Barzani, Prime Minister of the Kurdistan Region of Iraq said in tweet Sunday, “Erbil will stand strong against cowardly attacks. I strongly condemn the terrorist attack on Erbil and call on its resilient people to keep calm and follow the guidance of the security services.”
Broadcasting was temporarily interrupted at a local local television station, Kurdistan 24, after missiles struck a nearby area, the broadcaster said on its website.
The city has in the past been caught in the cross-hairs of tensions between Iran and the United States. In January 2020, a military base housing US forces in Erbil was one of two Iraqi bases to come under missile attack from Iran, in retaliation for the US killing of Iranian commander Qasem Soleimani. No US personnel were killed in the 2020 attack.
A rocket attack on coalition forces in Erbil in February 2021 was claimed by an Iranian-backed militia. One civilian contractor died and a US service member and several American contractors were injured.
This is a developing story, more to come…