Missiles Fired from Iran Hit near US Consulate in Iraq
As many as 12 missiles struck near a sprawling U.S. consulate complex in the northern Iraqi city of Irbil on Sunday, in what a U.S. defense official and an Iraqi official said was a strike launched from neighboring Iran.
No injuries were reported in the attack, which marked a significant escalation between the U.S. and Iran. Hostility between the longtime foes has often played out in Iraq, whose government is allied with both countries.
The Iraqi official in Baghdad initially said several missiles had hit the U.S. consulate in Irbil and that it was the target of the attack. Later, Lawk Ghafari, the head of Kurdistan’s foreign media office, said none of the missiles had struck the U.S. facility but that areas around the compound had been hit.
The U.S. defense official said it was still uncertain exactly how many missiles were fired and exactly where they landed. A second U.S. official said there was no damage at any U.S. government facility and that there was no indication the target was the consulate building, which is new and currently unoccupied.
Neither the Iraqi official nor the U.S. officials were authorized to discuss the event with the media and spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity.
Satellite broadcast channel Kurdistan24, which is located near the U.S. consulate, went on air from their studio shortly after the attack, showing shattered glass and debris on their studio floor.
The attack came several days after Iran said it would retaliate for an Israeli strike near Damascus, Syria, that killed two members of its Revolutionary Guard. On Sunday, Iran’s state-run IRNA news agency quoted Iraqi media acknowledging the attacks in Irbil, without saying where they originated.
An Iranian spokesperson rejected the accusation that Iran was behind the Irbil attack. Mahmoud Abbaszadeh, spokesman for Iran's parliamentary committee on national security and foreign policy, said the allegation could not be confirmed so far.
“If Iran decides to take revenge … it will be very, very serious, strong, obvious,” he said in an interview with a local news website.
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