The Iraqi Joint Operations Command said that what it described as a terrorist group carried out a 6-missile attack near a base of the international coalition where US forces are stationed in Erbil, the capital of the Kurdistan region of Iraq, yesterday evening, Wednesday.
This came hours after Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kazemi pledged to protect foreign missions from missile attacks, after US threats to close its embassy in Baghdad.
A spokesman for the International Coalition said that a number of missiles landed near its base in Erbil, without causing casualties or damage.
The Iraqi Joint Operations Command indicated that it was decided to stop the commander of the security force responsible for the area from which the missiles were launched on Erbil.
The Ministry of Interior in the Kurdistan Region stated that 6 Katyusha rockets were fired from an area controlled by the Popular Mobilization Forces at the outskirts of the village of Sheikh Amir in Nineveh Governorate, and 3 of them targeted the coalition base at Erbil airport, but they fell on the outskirts of the airport.
The President of the Kurdistan Regional Government, Masrour Barzani, condemned the attack and called on the Iraqi prime minister to hold the perpetrators accountable.
Pledge to protect
No group has yet claimed responsibility for the attack, which occurred hours after the prime minister pledged, in a meeting with senior diplomats, to protect foreign missions and limit weapons possession to government forces, after Washington threatened to close its embassy in Baghdad.
Al-Kazemi said that closing foreign embassies in the country means stopping economic and military cooperation, at a time when Iraq is going through great challenges.
In a speech during a regular session of the Council of Ministers, Al-Kazemi confirmed that the United States and the European Union are considering withdrawing from his country, as a result of the continuous attacks targeting the Green Zone in central Baghdad.
Al-Kazemi’s office also noted in a statement that it affirmed in a meeting with 25 foreign envoys, including the US ambassador, “Iraq’s keenness to impose the rule of law and to restrict weapons to the hands of the state and to protect diplomatic missions and headquarters.”
He stressed that “the perpetrators of attacks on the security of diplomatic missions seek to destabilize Iraq and sabotage its regional and international relations.”
Rocket attacks have increased during the past few weeks near the US embassy, and roadside bombs have targeted convoys carrying ammunition for the US-led coalition.
An explosive Abouda planted on the road hit a British convoy in Baghdad, in the first such attack on Western diplomats in Iraq in years.
This bombing also comes shortly after US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo warned the Iraqi government last week that his country will close its embassy in Baghdad if the attacks on it, especially missiles, do not stop, and it will withdraw 3,000 soldiers and diplomats.
Iraqi Foreign Minister Fuad Hussein said at a press conference in Baghdad on Wednesday that his country’s government is “unhappy with the American decision,” warning that “the American withdrawal could lead to more withdrawals” from other countries participating in the international coalition to fight ISIS, which is This would be “dangerous because ISIS threatens Iraq as well as the region.”