WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:
- A US coalition base in Erbil, Iraq faced a rocket attack on Monday, resulting in one civilian death and several casualties including one US service member.
- A group called Saraya Awliya al-Dam group has claimed responsibility for the attack.
- US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said that the country was “outraged” by the assault.
The US coalition in Iraq reported that the US troops in northern Iraq endured a rocket attack on Monday, leaving one injured service member and one civilian contractor dead.
The rocket assaults hit the vicinity of Erbil International Airport and a military airbase where the US-led coalition was located. Per the officials, the fallen contractor was not American while there were other five casualties coming from the contractors.
Three rockets hit the airport and at least another two exploded within the area, per Kurdish security forces. Reporters from Reuters heard several strong blasts and witnessed a fire raging beside the airport.
Saraya Awliya al-Dam group has claimed responsibility for the assault but did not give any proof.
In a statement on Monday, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said that the US was “outraged” by the strike.
He said that he already contacted Kurdistan Regional Government Prime Minister Masrour Barzani “to discuss the incident and to pledge our support for all efforts to investigate and hold accountable those responsible.”
Iraq’s Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi has tied with the US and is going against Iran-backed groups. The Iraqi government though has been struggling to gain a stronghold of the paramilitary groups in their country.
In recent weeks, militant groups based in Iraq and Yemen, which are affiliated with Iran, have initiated attacks against the US and its Arab allies. The strikes included a drone attack in Saudi airport and rocket strikes against the US embassy in Baghdad.
Most of the incidents yielded zero casualties, though it gave more burden on the US forces and allies amid the start of President Joe Biden’s term.
The new administration was assessing whether it should reenter the nuclear deal with Iran or completely suppress its nuclearization scheme.
France, an ally of the US, said that new agreements should be more disciplinary and should be joined by Saudi Arabia, Iran’s prime competitor in the middle east.
The hostility between the US and Iran has often manifested in Iraq.
In January 2020, the US launched a drone attack in Baghdad that killed Iran’s top military general Qassem Soleimani, enraging the entire nation.
Two months after, a rocket assault killed two Americans and one British at a military base in northern Iraq.
The rocket assault in Erbil on Monday was the latest fatal incident since last year.