Iraqi Kurdish security authorities confirm a drone strike occurred near US soldiers stationed at Erbil International Airport in northern Iraq on Saturday. On the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 terror attacks in the United States, a strike in Iraq's Kurdistan area was launched. It is the airport's second drone strike in many months.
Initially, the autonomous region's internal security department claimed three missiles had hit near the airport. Erbil is the autonomous region's capital. The attack was carried out by explosive-laden drones, according to a second statement from the Kurdish counter-terrorism organization.
Drones targeted Iraq's Erbil airport
There were no reports of casualties right away. At least six explosions were heard in the vicinity, according to witnesses. Several times in the last year, the airport in Erbil, the capital of the autonomous Kurdish area, has been attacked, notably by drones carrying explosives.
Previous assaults have been blamed on Iran-aligned Shi'ite Muslim militias, who have pledged to fight until the last 2,500 US troops leave the country. The United States is heading a multinational military coalition tasked with assisting Iraqi troops in combating the Sunni terrorist Islamic State group's remnants. The coalition did not respond to a request for comment on the incident that occurred on Saturday, as per Daily Mail.
This is the second drone strike on the airport in two months, after one in July. No one was hurt, and the building was undamaged. The incident happened a day after missiles and a drone attacked the US embassy in Baghdad and the Ain al-Asad airbase, which houses American forces.
Per Kurdistan24, the US denounced the drone assault on Sunday and pledged to continue assisting the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) in maintaining peace and security. "We strongly condemn yesterday's drone attack in the Iraqi Kurdistan Region," the US Consulate General in Erbil declared in a statement published on Sunday. The attacks are also a "threat" to Iraq's sovereignty and stability, according to the statement.
The US also stated that it will help any investigations into the assaults undertaken by the KRG. While the incident disrupted flight operations for a short time, they were quickly restored, the airport officials claimed.
The explosion is the second incident since July 2021
The attack was carried out by explosive-laden drones, according to Lawk Ghafuri, head of international media relations for the Kurdistan Regional Government, who posted on Twitter. Ghafuri went on to add that the incident was being investigated by Kurdish security authorities.
He said the drone was carrying explosive devices and burst distant from Erbil International Airport's terminals and territory in a series of tweets. Erbil International Airport is open for business, and flights are operating normally. Officials call any rumors regarding the airport's shut down "fake news."
The airport, which also serves as a base for coalition forces commanded by the United States, was unharmed. On the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks in the United States, the strike occurred. It also happened a day after missiles and a drone were said to have attacked the US Embassy in Baghdad and the Ain al-Asad airbase, which houses US soldiers. It's worth noting that Saturday's explosion is the second in two months, following a drone strike on the airport in July 2021.
A drone placed bombs near American soldiers stationed at Erbil airport in April, as per Republic World. That was the first reported unmanned aerial drone attack on US soldiers in Erbil, and it came amid a constant stream of rocket attacks on US outposts and the embassy in Baghdad, which Washington blames on Iran-backed militias.
A video purportedly released by Kurdistan Counter-Terrorism Forces and shared on Twitter by the Aurora Intel account appears to show Erbil Airport following the attack. Other videos on social media appear to show the airport turning dark following the suspected rocket assault, while the footage shows flames rising into the night sky.