Killed, 8 Wounded in Rocket Attack on U.S. Base in Iraq

Foreign Contractor Killed 5 Others Injured After Rockets Hit Iraq Airbase

The military side of Irbil's airport is one of three remaining bases with a significant number of U.S. troops.

The attack was claimed by Saraya Awlia al-Dam a little-known group that one analyst said was a front for an established Iran-backed Iraqi militia which is part of the Iraqi government but opposed to the USA presence in Iraq.

In another tweet she wrote: "Iraq already faces multiple crises, and such callous acts as the rocket attack on Erbil can not be allowed to undermine stability and recovery".

The Kurdish ministry of health said three civilians were wounded in Monday's attack.

Asaib Ahl al-Haq threatened to fight Turkish troops if their operations expanded and another pro-Iran faction, Ashab Ahl al-Kahf, claimed on Monday it had attacked a Turkish military base along the Iraqi border.

Tension between the United States and Iran sent the Middle East to the edge of a full-scale confrontation in January 2020 after a USA drone strike killed Iranian military mastermind Qassem Soleimani in Baghdad.

Iraq's government under Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi has sided with the United States against Iran-aligned militias but has struggled to bring the powerful paramilitary groups under control.

The State Department also said that Soleimani was "actively developing plans to attack American diplomats and service members in Iraq and throughout the region".

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According to Al-Arabiya, the attack was claimed by the Saraya Awliya al-Dam group, who said that they were targeting the "American occupation" in Iraq.

Kurdish counter-terrorism forces said they had found the vehicle the rockets were launched from but did not say where it was discovered.

A group calling itself Saraya Awliya al-Dam claimed responsibility for the attack on the US -led base, saying it targeted the "American occupation" in Iraq. It was not immediately clear where the fire was located, but one area resident posted that it was on the edge of the airport.

Smoke rises over the Erbil after reports of mortar shells landing near Erbil airport in Iraq on February 15, 2021.

"I have reached out to Kurdistan Regional Government Prime Minister Masrour Barzani to discuss the incident and to pledge our support for all efforts to investigate and hold accountable those responsible". Mr Blinken later condemned the attack.

But Blinken's call for an investigation marks a shift away from that policy under President Joe Biden's new administration.

Iraqi leaders have traveled to Teheran to try to persuade Iran to call off attacks, saying conflict between Washington and Teheran left Iraq dangerously in the middle.

Iran said Tuesday it opposed any acts that harmed Iraq's security and denied suggestions by some Iraqi officials that it had any link to a little-known group that has claimed responsibility for an attack on US -led forces in the country. The embassy in Baghdad continues to operate with the ambassador and a small number of key staff.

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