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Thursday, April 15, 2021, 17:57
Explosives-laden drone targets US forces at Iraq's Erbil airport
By Reuters
Thursday, April 15, 2021, 17:57 By Reuters

This AFP graphic dated April 15, 2021 shows the map of Iraq locating Arbil (Erbil) in the northern Kurdistan region where a drone charged with explosives targeted a coalition base at airport on Wednesday.

ERBIL, Iraq - A drone dropped explosives near US forces stationed at Erbil airport in northern Iraq late on Wednesday, Kurdish officials said, with no immediate reports of casualties.

A separate rocket attack killed a Turkish soldier at a military base nearby, the Turkish defence ministry said.

It was the first known attack carried out by an unmanned aerial drone against US forces in Erbil, amid a steady stream of rocket attacks on bases hosting US forces and the embassy in Baghdad that Washington blames on Iran-backed militias.

A group that Western and some Iraqi officials say is aligned with Iran praised the attack (on US forces stationed at Erbil airport in northern Iraq by an unmanned aerial drone charged with explosives) , but did not explicitly claim it

The interior ministry of the autonomous Kurdistan regional government, based in Erbil, said in a statement the drone was carrying TNT which it used to target the US forces. It said no one was hurt in the attack.

A group that Western and some Iraqi officials say is aligned with Iran praised the attack, but did not explicitly claim it.

ALSO READ: Rocket attack kills 1, injures 6 in Iraq base hosting US troops

A barrage of rockets hit the same US-led military base in the Erbil International Airport vicinity in February, killing a non-American contractor working with the US military.

Shortly before Wednesday’s attack in Erbil, at least two rockets landed on and near a base to the west of the city that hosts Turkish forces, Iraqi security officials said. That attack killed a Turkish soldier, Ankara said.

A rocket hit a base belonging to an Iraqi Shi’ite Muslim militia group near that Turkish base a few hours later, a security official said, wounding at least one fighter. It was not immediately clear who had fired the rocket.

Turkey also has troops in Iraq both as part of a NATO contingent and a force that has attacked Kurdish separatist militants in the north.

The Iran-backed militias oppose both the presence of the United States and Turkey and demand a full withdrawal of all foreign troops.

The United States has sometimes responded with air strikes against Iran-aligned militias including on the Iraqi-Syrian border.

READ MORE: Pentagon says US to respond to attack on Iraq base if needed

An air strike ordered by former president Donald Trump that killed Iran’s top commander Qassem Soleimani in January 2020 sent the region to the brink of a full-scale conflict.

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