US-led coalition drone crashes in northern Iraq

Unmanned aerial vehicle 'malfunctioned' over Erbil city

Iraq - Erbil - July 18th, 2010:  Erbil, Iraq's largest mosque dominates the skyline to the North.  (Galen Clarke/The National)
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The US-led coalition against ISIS said one of its drones crashed in Iraq's Kurdistan region on Wednesday.

“An unarmed coalition unmanned aerial system malfunctioned and crash-landed north of Erbil, Iraq, June 15 at 1.08pm. No one was harmed in the incident,” said the coalition on its official Twitter account.

“Coalition officials are working with Kurdistan Regional Government officials to assess any possible damage. Kurdish partner forces have secured the wreckage of the aircraft. The incident is under investigation.”

Initial reports indicate the aircraft hit an internet tower during its descent.

Kurdish authorities reported the incident earlier but it was not initially clear to whom the drone belonged, according to the Rudaw news network based in Erbil.

The regional government's Directorate General of Counter Terrorism said that “a local surveillance drone impacted an internet tower in Gird Jutyar village, in Erbil province’s Ainkawa district, and crashed due to a technical fault. Fortunately, no one was harmed”.

The incident comes after several recent drone attacks in Erbil, the capital of the Iraqi Kurdistan region.

US and Kurdish officials have accused Iran-backed militias of launching drone and rocket attacks in the Iraqi Kurdistan region.

An explosive-laden drone destroyed a section of a road in north-east Erbil on June 8, wounding three people. Kurdish security services accused Iraqi Hezbollah militants of being behind the attack.

Some of the attacks in recent months have been aimed at locations where about 2,500 US forces are stationed in Iraq.

The US forces are leading an international military coalition whose mandate is to help Iraqi forces in the fight against remnants of ISIS, which was defeated in the country in 2017.

On Thursday, the coalition announced its forces had detained a senior leader of the extremist group during an operation in Syria.

“The detained individual was assessed to be an experienced bomb maker and facilitator who became one of the group’s top leaders in Syria,” the coalition said.

In September, explosive-laden drones struck locations near where US forces are stationed at Erbil International Airport. US and Iraqi Kurdistan authorities did not report any casualties from the incident.

Tension between the US and Iran peaked in 2020 after the assassination of Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps' top commander Qassem Soleimani in a US drone attack at Baghdad airport.

Updated: June 16, 2022, 6:49 AM