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Developing: Missiles target US consulate in north Iraq


A number of ballistic missiles, some reports are as high as twelve missiles, were fired from Iranian territory and fell near the US consulate in Erbil in northwestern Iraq on Saturday night, and according to some reports from witnesses on the ground the consulate itself was struck, but the real target is not yet confirmed. There are several factors that could play into the timing of this attack, but at this time it is a guessing game until more is known, or until someone or group takes responsibility.

The health minister of Kurdistan, stated that there were no injuries or deaths reported in the attack on Saturday night

The health minister of Kurdistan, Saman Hussein Muhammad stated that there were no injuries or deaths reported in the attack on Saturday night.

The Kurdistan Counter-Terrorism Service announced that 12 ballistic missiles were fired from “outside the borders of Iraq and the Kurdistan region, specifically from the east,” according to the Iraqi News Agency (INA). The number of missiles is not confirmed at this time, but it is being said that “multiple” airborne projectiles were fired into Erbil.

Independent open-source intelligence (OSINT) accounts shared videos reportedly shared by Iranian civilians showing missiles being fired from Iran at the time of the attack, with at least one of the videos being linked to a site in Khasabad in the East Azerbaijan province of Iran.

Governor of Irbil, Omed Khoshnaw, stated earlier in the night that multiple missiles landed in the area, striking in multiple places, saying it was unclear whether the target was the US consulate or the airport in the city.

The health minister of Kurdistan, Saman Hussein Muhammad stated that there were no injuries or deaths reported in the attack on Saturday night.

Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi responded to the attack, tweeting: “The aggression which targeted the dear city of Irbil and spread fear amongst its inhabitants is an attack on the security of our people. I discussed these developments with the KRG PM. Our security forces will investigate and stand firm against any threats towards our people.”

Prime minister of the Kurdistan Region, Masrour Barzani, responded to the attack on Saturday night, writing “Erbil does not bow to cowards. I strongly condemn the terrorist attack on parts of Irbil and call on the brave and patient people of Erbil to be calm and to follow the instructions of the security agencies. I thank you for your patience.”

The missile attack came as negotiations to return to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) nuclear deal with Iran stalled in Vienna over new Russian demands that threaten to derail the process all together and put more tensions on the ongoing conflict in Ukraine. European Union foreign policy chief Josep Borrell tweeted on Friday that the talks in Vienna needed a “pause,” due to “external factors.” Borrell added that a final text is “essentially ready and on the table.”

Iranian foreign ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh stated on Saturday that there were at least one or two key issues that the US and Iran had not yet reached an agreement on. He added that the two sides disagree on how sanctions should be lifted, with Iran wanting more sectors released from sanctions and the US wanting less. Iranian officials stated that it is unclear when negotiations will resume.

No party has taken responsibility for the missile fire as of yet. Iran has threatened retaliation in recent days for the deaths of two Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) officers in an alleged Israeli airstrike in Syria last week. Iran-backed militias reportedly targeted the Al-Tanf base, where US forces are housed, in October in retaliation for an alleged Israeli airstrikes which targeted Iranian-backed forces in Syria last year.

By Cecil Beal

This is a developing story.

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