Drone attack on Iraqi military base hosting US troops causes casualties

Attack against US base in Erbil disrupts flights

Erbil International Airport. Reuters
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A drone attack on a military base hosting US troops near Erbil Airport in northern Iraq on Monday caused casualties, a military spokesman said.

Maj Gen Yahya Rasool, a military representative for Iraqi Prime Minister Mohammed Shia Al Sudani, said the attack also disrupted flights from the airport.

Maj Gen Rasool did not provide more details.

This is the first time the Iraqi government announced casualties. Earlier today, the Islamic Resistance in Iraq, an umbrella group of Iran-backed militias, claimed responsibility for the attacks against the Harir base.

Erbil is the capital of the three-province Kurdistan region.

Iran's proxy groups have increased drone and missile attacks against US forces in Iraq and Syria due to Washington's support of Israel in the Israel-Gaza war, which began after Hamas operatives killed about 1,200 people, most of them civilians, in Israel on October 7.

The attacks against US forces have hit Ain Al Asad in western Iraq, a military base near Baghdad's international airport, and Harir airport in the northern city of Erbil, as well as bases inside Syria.

In retaliation, the US carried out three limited air strikes in Syria, but late last month it expanded them to Iraq, killing at least 15 militiamen.

Iraqi militia groups have vowed to increase their attacks.

This month, several rockets were fired towards the Green Zone in Baghdad where the US embassy is located.

Some rockets landed in the embassy compound while several others hit the headquarters of the National Security Service, according to Iraqi security officials. The attacks caused no casualties, they said.

The Iraqi government said some of those involved in the US embassy attack are linked to the security forces and arrested a number of them.

Maj Gen Rasool on Monday denounced the attacks as “criminal acts aim to harm Iraq’s interests and its regional and international relationships”.

“While condemning this terrorist act, we affirm that Iraqi security forces, supported by intelligence efforts, will apprehend the perpetrators to bring them to justice,” he said.

Updated: December 25, 2023, 6:30 PM