Iraqi Kurdish authorities blame Iraqi Hezbollah militants for drone attack in Erbil

France and UK condemn strike and call for an end to violence against civilians

Kurdish highway attacked by explosives-laden drone. The National.
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The Kurdistan Regional Government on Thursday accused Iraqi Hezbollah-linked militants of carrying out a drone attack in Erbil that wounded three civilians and damaged several vehicles.

The strike occurred on the outskirts of Erbil, on the road to Pirmam, at 9.35pm local time on Wednesday.

Officials said a drone was shot down. No groups have claimed responsibility for the attack.

But the regional government said Hezbollah was behind the strike.

"The attack was launched from the borders of the town of Bardi by the Hezbollah militia," the KRG's security council said in a statement given to The National.

"The terrorist attack on Erbil is a continuation of the attacks carried out to put pressure on the region."

The UK ambassador to Iraq, Mark Bryson-Richardson, expressed condemnation on Twitter and said it was "another unacceptable attack seemingly targeting civilians".

“There should be no place in Iraq for those promoting chaos and violence,” he said.

The British consul general in Erbil, David Hunt, said it was "another senseless act of violence".

"The United Kingdom stands alongside the Kurdistan Region of Iraq against this aggression," he said on Twitter.

France has expressed its solidary with those wounded in the attack.

"We call on the Iraqi, Kurdish and federal authorities to co-operate closely to put an end to these attacks. Iraqis have the right to live in peace and security," the French embassy said on Twitter.

The UN Assistance Mission for Iraq called for those responsible to be held to account.

"As stated before, Iraq does not need self-proclaimed armed arbiters. Asserting state authority is essential," it said.

"If the perpetrators are known, call them out and hold them to account."

Iraqi President Barham Salih, who is of Kurdish-Iraqi origin, said the attack was a "reprehensible criminal act".

Officials in the Kurdistan region said Erbil continued to be secure, stable and prosperous despite the “cowardly attack”.

“Erbil is a symbol of peaceful coexistence – a beacon of light and hope for the entire Middle East,” said Safeen Dizayee, a minister and head of the Department of Foreign Relations at the Kurdish regional government.

“Such terrorist attacks must be condemned by all."

KRG President Nechirvan Barzani said it would work with Baghdad to deliver justice.

“We will work with Baghdad to bring the perpetrators of the attack to justice,” he said.

Last month, artillery fire from Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps hit an area north of Erbil, an aimed at what Iranian state TV called "terrorist bases".

The attack comes as Iraq is undergoing the fraught process of forming a new government. Political parties opposed to Iran-backed groups may be key in selecting Cabinet ministers.

It has been nearly eight months since general elections were help and political parties have not yet reached a consensus on who should govern.

Updated: June 09, 2022, 1:41 PM
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