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Pro-Iran militia claims responsibility for missile attack on Erbil airport

A view of the scene after a rocket attack outside the international airport in Erbil, the capital of northern Iraq’s Kurdish region on February 16, 2021 [Yunus Keleş/Anadolu Agency]
A view of the scene after a rocket attack outside the international airport in Erbil, the capital of northern Iraq’s Kurdish region on February 16, 2021 [Yunus Keleş/Anadolu Agency]

A pro-Iran armed militia calling itself "Saraya Awliya Al-Dam" yesterday claimed responsibility for the missile attack that targeted Erbil International Airport on Monday in the semi-autonomous Kurdistan Region of Iraq.

"At exactly 9:15 pm our members carried out a qualitative operation against the American occupation in our beloved north," the group said in a statement, claiming the airport's C-RAM counter- missile system failed to intercept the missiles.

"The American occupation will not be safe from our strikes in any inch of the homeland, even in Kurdistan," it continued.

Earlier AFP reported that at least three rockets made in Iran were used in the attack on Erbil airport, adding that one had hit a military complex where US-led coalition troops are based.

The attack killed a civilian contractor and injured six people, including a US serviceman.

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US Secretary of State Antony Blinken condemned the attack, adding that he had contacted the Prime Minister of the Kurdistan Regional Government, Masrour Barzani, to discuss the incident and pledged to support all efforts to investigate it and hold those responsible to account.

The Media Cell of the Iraqi Ministry of Defence said Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi issued orders to form a joint investigation committee with the Kurdish authorities to investigate the attack and identify the perpetrators.

This is the second attack of its kind since September 2020 when unknown persons targeted the airport with six missiles, without causing any casualties.

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