The US military on Wednesday said it destroyed an Iranian drone that was headed towards the capital of Iraqi Kurdistan after it appeared as a threat to American forces.
The downed aircraft appears to have been among a barrage of cruise missiles and drones that Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps said it fired into Iraq to target separatist groups. At least nine civilians died and dozens more were wounded, regional authorities said.
"At approximately 2.10pm local time, US forces brought down an Iranian Mojet-6 Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) headed in the direction of Erbil as it appeared as a threat to Centcom forces in the area," the Pentagon's Central Command said in a statement.
Centcom has maintained a troop presence in Iraq to help local forces fight ISIS since 2014.
The US condemned Iran's use of ballistic missiles and drones to strike Iraq's Kurdistan region, describing the deadly attacks as an assault on the sovereignty of the Iraqi people.
"Iranian leaders continue to demonstrate flagrant disregard not only for the lives of their own people, but also for their neighbours and the core principles of sovereignty and territorial integrity enshrined in the UN Charter," White House national security advisor Jake Sullivan said.
"Iran cannot deflect blame from its internal problems and the legitimate grievances of its population with attacks across its borders."
State Department spokesman Ned Price said: "We deplore any loss of life caused by today’s attack. ... We stand with the people and government of Iraq in the face of these brazen attacks on their sovereignty."