Iran admits to attacking Iraqi missiles, revealing the target behind
The Guardian newspaper quoted an Iranian statement as saying the missile launch was in retaliation for Israel’s attack on Syria that killed two members of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) early last week. .
The Iranian missile’s target was an Israeli intelligence center inside the US consulate complex in the northern Iraqi city of Erbil.
According to The Guardian, no human casualties were recorded in the attack, but the attack marked a significant escalation between the US and its allies and Iran in the region.
The Associated Press later quoted Iraqi Foreign Ministry spokesman Ahmad al-Sahhaf as saying that on March 13, Baghdad summoned Iran’s ambassador Iraj Masjedi to protest against the attack on the city of Erbil.
The Iraqi government called the attack “a violation of international law and norms” and demanded an explanation from the Iranian leader.
When asked about the attack, State Department spokesman Ned Price told reporters there was no indication that the attack was aimed at US forces in Iraq.
Tasnim news agency quoted an unnamed source as saying that Iran had launched 10 Fateh-110 short-range ballistic missiles at Erbil, which has an estimated range of 300 km. The attack is believed to have been conducted from Iranian territory.
An Iraqi official in Baghdad initially said several rockets hit the US consulate in Erbil and that was the target of the attack. Later, Lawk Ghafari, head of Kurdistan’s foreign media office, said no Iranian missiles had hit US infrastructure in the complex.
US officials have not yet determined how many missiles Iran fired at Erbil in the recent attack, nor is there any information that the US military conducted an interception of the Iranian missile.
Also according to AP, US and Iraqi officials have refrained from sharing information about damage inside the US consulate complex in Erbil after the attack.
Speaking about Iran’s missile attack, US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan said: “We will support the Iraqi government. And we will support our partners in the Middle East in the face of similar threats from Iran.”
In an interview with the AP in December, US Marine General Frank McKenzie said coalition forces in Iraq had ended combat operations in the Middle Eastern country. This is helping Iran and its close militias to expand their influence, and also creating a wave of demands for the US to withdraw its troops from Iraq.
Earlier in July 2021, the administration of US President Joe Biden set out a roadmap to end the country’s military intervention in Iraq by December 31, 2021. Since then, the coalition forces have transitioned to an advisory role for the Iraqi army in counter-terrorism operations.
The US presence in Iraq has long been a “thorn in the eye” for Tehran, tensions between the two sides were pushed to a peak when the US “green light” for the assassination of Major General Qassem Soleimani, Deputy Commander Iran’s Quds special forces in January 2020 near Baghdad airport.
In retaliation, Iran launched an unprecedented missile attack on the al-Asad airbase, where US and allied forces are located in western Iraq. Since then, US bases have been repeatedly targeted by rocket attacks.
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