Ballistic missiles reach Iraq's Kurdish capital, Iran's Revolutionary Guard claims responsibility

Ballistic missiles reach Iraq's Kurdish capital

March 15, 2022: -Iran’s Revolutionary Guards is claiming responsibility for a dozen ballistic missiles that struck Iraq’s northern Kurdish regional capital of Irbil in the early hours of Sunday, Iran’s state media reported, adding that the attack was against Israeli “strategic centers” in Irbil.

The missile attack comes as talks to revive the 2015 Iran nuclear deal face the prospect of collapse after a last-minute Russian demand forced world powers to pause negotiations for an undetermined time despite having a primarily completed text.

The Kurdish interior ministry said that the missiles targeted the U.S. consulate’s new building caused only material damage, and one civilian was injured. An Iraqi security official told Reuters that the rockets were manufactured in Iran.

“Any repetition of attacks by Israel will be met with a harsh, decisive, and destructive response,” the Revolutionary Guard said in a statement reported by state media.

A U.S. official blamed Iran for the attack earlier on Sunday but did not elaborate. Iranian officials have yet to comment.

A U.S. State Department spokesperson called it an “outrageous attack” but said Americans were not at all hurt, and there was no damage to U.S. government facilities in Irbil.

U.S. forces stationed at Irbil’s international airport complex have in the past come under fire from rocket and drone attacks that Washington blames on Iran-aligned militia groups. Still, no such attacks have occurred for several months.

“It’s premature to point the finger of blame at the specific party, but initial reports show indisputably that it was a cross-border short-range missile attack,” an Iraqi security official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said.

“Parts of the fired missiles were retrieved, and Iran manufactured it,” he said.

In another sign of increased regional tensions, Iran also suspended the fifth round of talks with regional rival Saudi Arabia that was due to take place in Baghdad on Wednesday.

The last time ballistic missiles were directed at U.S. forces was in January 2020 – an Iranian retaliation for the U.S. killing earlier that month of its military commander Qassem Soleimani at Baghdad airport.

No U.S. personnel were killed in the 2020 attack but many suffered head injuries.

Iraq and neighboring Syria are regularly the scenes of violence between the United States and Iran. Iran-backed Shi’ite Islamist militias have attacked U.S. forces in both countries, and Washington retaliated with airstrikes occasionally.

On Monday, an Israeli airstrike in Syria killed two members of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), Iranian state media said this week. The IRGC vowed to retaliate, it said.

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Ballistic missiles reach Iraq's Kurdish capital
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Ballistic missiles reach Iraq's Kurdish capital
Iran’s Revolutionary Guards is claiming responsibility for a dozen ballistic missiles that struck Iraq’s Kurdish regional capital of Irbil
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