Missiles target US consulate in Erbil, Kurdistan

shots from “missiles” addressed, Sunday, March 13 before sunrise, Erbil, capital of autonomous Kurdistan in the Kurdish north of Iraq. The attack was carried out with “twelve ballistic missiles fired at a district of Erbil and aimed at the US consulate” according to a statement from the Kurdish Counter-Terrorism Unit. “The missiles were fired outside the borders of Iraq and Kurdistan, [venant] more precisely from the east » out of the country.

Iraq shares its long eastern border with Iran, which plays a vital role both politically and economically with its Iraqi neighbour.

“There are no human losses, only material damage”, the statement added. For his part, a spokesman for the US State Department assured that there are no… “no damage or casualties in a US government facility”

The city’s airport, which is home to the international anti-jihadist coalition, said it had suffered no damage and denied any interruption of flights.

The local TV channel Kurdistan24, whose studios are not far from the new US consulate building, published images on its social networks of its damaged offices, with collapsed parts of the false ceiling and broken glass.

“We condemn this terrorist attack against various sectors of Erbil, we call on the residents to remain calm”Kurdish Prime Minister Masrour Barzani said in a statement.

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A still tense context

These shots fired against Erbil come nearly a week after the deaths in Syria of two senior officers of the Revolutionary Guards, the ideological army of the Islamic Republic of Iran, killed in an attack blamed on Israel. “The Zionist Regime” {Israel] will pay for this crime”the guards promised in a press release on Tuesday.

This Sunday attack also comes at a time when negotiations over Iran’s nuclear, which is poised to succeed, have been brutally suspended, following new demands from Moscow. This pact, signed by Iran on the one hand and the United States, China, France, the United Kingdom, Russia and Germany on the other, was to prevent Tehran from acquiring the atomic bomb in exchange for the lifting of sanctions that are stifling. . its economy.

But it collapsed in 2018 after Washington pulled out, decided by Donald Trump, who reinstated his measures against Iran. In response, Iran gradually freed itself from the restrictions placed on its nuclear program. Negotiations resumed after Joe Biden was elected to the White House.

Strikes never claimed

In Iraq, unclaimed rocket or booby-trapped drones regularly target US interests and the forces of the international anti-jihadist coalition in Iraq, where pro-Iranian armed groups are demanding the departure of US soldiers.

At the beginning of the year, the country experienced a resurgence of these types of attacks. Iran and several allied groups in the region then commemorated the second anniversary of the death of Iranian General Qassem Soleimani and his Iraqi lieutenant Abu Mahdi al-Mohandes, killed by US drone fire in Iraq in January 2020.

In late January, six rockets were fired at Baghdad International Airport with no casualties, the latest in a series of attacks generally attributed by Washington to pro-Iranian Iraqi factions. In Erbil, the last such attack in Erbil dates back to September, when “armed drones” focused on the airport.

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These attacks are also taking place in a tense post-election context, marked by endless negotiations to form a parliamentary coalition, elect a president and appoint a prime minister.

“Erbil under the fire of the losers”responded in a tweet from Shia religious leader Moqtada Sadr, the major winner of October’s parliamentary elections, which saw pro-Iranian factions fall sharply.

The world with AFP