Creating new perspectives since 2009

Iraq: PMF denies involvement in Erbil rocket attack

October 2, 2020 at 2:14 pm

Members of the Popular Mobilisation Forces (PMF) in the Iraqi capital Baghdad on 26 October 2019 [AHMAD AL-RUBAYE/AFP/Getty Images]

The Nineveh Operations Command, affiliated with the Popular Mobilisation Forces (PMF), yesterday denied any involvement in the rocket attack that targeted Erbil International Airport, near US military bases in the north of the country.

On Wednesday, the Iraqi Counter Terrorism Force (ICTF) in northern Iraq reported that Erbil airport had been attacked with six missiles “launched from an area controlled by the Popular Mobilisation Forces.”

According to the ICTF, the missiles missed the target and landed near the airport without causing any losses.

The Nineveh Operations Command said in a statement: “We express our regret and surprise over some of the hasty reactions regarding the rocket attack that targeted the city of Erbil.”

“The area from which the rockets were launched towards Erbil is considered an uninhabited area located in a triangle surrounded by the army, the PMF and the Peshmerga (Kurdistan Regional Guard).”

Iraq: army arrests suspects linked to attacks on diplomatic missions

“An investigation has been opened into the accident and surveillance cameras will be monitored to find out from where the missile-loaded vehicle came,” it added.

The statement indicated that “the Popular Mobilisation Forces are working to identify the parties responsible for the rocket attack and will announce the location used to launch the missiles and the party that controls the corresponding area.”

The PMF, which includes mostly Shia factions, is officially affiliated with the Iraqi armed forces, but many of its armed formations receive orders from pro-Iran commanders, according to observers.

The Iraqi army announced yesterday the arrest of the commander of the force in control of the area from which the missiles were launched, without revealing his identity, while opening an urgent investigation into the matter.

This attack is considered the first of its kind in the Kurdistan region of northern Iraq.

Head of Iraq’s Kurdish Regional Government (KRG), Masrour Barzani, condemned the Erbil missile attack.

READ: Amnesty calls for justice for victims of Iraq protests