Up to a dozen ballistic missiles launched from Iran were fired early Sunday morning towards the US consulate in Iraq’s Kurdistan region capital of Erbil, officials said.
While no casualties were reported, Iraqi and US officials gave differing accounts of the attack, which also damaged the office building of a Kurdish news outlet.
A US State Department spokesperson told The Associated Press the strike was an “outrageous attack against Iraqi sovereignty and display of violence.”
The official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said no Americans were injured and there was no damage to the new government consulate building in Erbil, which is currently unoccupied.
Iraqi officials have claimed that as many as 12 missiles from Iran struck the consulate and caused material damage.
Satellite television station Kurdistan24, which is located near the US consulate, went live from the studio shortly after the attack, showing shattered glass and debris strewn across the studio floor.
The attack is being investigated by the government of Iraq and the Kurdish Regional Government. Iraqi officials claimed that the missiles were fired from Iran, without elaborating. US officials could not confirm what type of missiles were fired.
The strike comes days after an Israeli airstrike killed two members of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard near Damascus, Syria. Iran’s foreign ministry strongly condemned the attack Wednesday and vowed revenge.
Iran’s state-run IRNA news agency quoted Iraqi media acknowledging the attacks in Irbil, but did not say where the missiles came from.
Negotiation talks in Vienna, Austria surrounding America’s potential return to the 2015 Iran nuclear deal broke up without an agreement on Friday after new Russian demands scrambled the talks.
Marine Gen. Frank McKenzie, the top US commander in the Middle East, told AP in December that while remaining US forces in Iraq have pivoted to a non-combative advisory role, Iran and Iran-backed militias still want all American troops out of the region and said he expected more attacks.
President Joe Biden ended combat missions in Iraq on Dec. 31, however, US forces still provide air support and other military aid for Iraq’s fight against ISIS.
Tensions between Tehran and Washington spiked after a US drone strike near the Baghdad airport killed top Iranian general Qassem Soleimani and six others. In retaliation, Iran fired missiles at the al-Asad airbase, where US troops were stationed. Over 100 service members suffered traumatic brain injuries in the blasts.
Many officials believe Iran-backed Shiite militias were behind the assassination attempt on Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi when armed drones descended on his Baghdad home in November.
Iran has also been blamed for a drone strike on the US military outpost in southern Syria in October. No Americans were injured or killed.
With Post wires