Secretary of State Antony Blinken said he is “outraged” after a group calling itself “Awliyaa al-Dam” (Guardians of Blood) at 9:30 PM Monday staged a rocket attack on a US base in the Kurdish regional capital of Erbil. At least three rockets hit close to Erbil International Airport, and Reuters reported several loud explosions and a fire that broke out there. At least one civilian was killed and several others injured, Blinken said.
Two other rockets hit residential neighborhoods in Erbil.
The Secretary of State issued a statement saying:
We are outraged by today’s rocket attack in the Iraqi Kurdistan Region. Initial reports indicate that the attacks killed one civilian contractor and injured several members of the Coalition, including one American service member and several American contractors. We express our condolences to the loved ones of the civilian contractor killed in this attack, and to the innocent Iraqi people and their families who are suffering these ruthless acts of violence. I have reached out to Kurdistan Regional Government Prime Minister Masrour Barzani to discuss the incident and to pledge our support for all efforts to investigate and hold accountable those responsible.
Masrour Barzani, prime minister of the Kurdistan Region of Iraq, said he condemned “in the strongest terms tonight’s rocket attacks on Erbil. I urge all Kurdistanis to remain calm.” He said his security services had launched a full investigation of the attack.
According to the SITE Intelligence Group, Awliyaa al-Dam, one of a dozen Shiite militias affiliated with Iran in northern Iraq, issued a statement proclaiming: “The American occupation will not be safe from our strikes in any inch of the homeland, even in Kurdistan, where we promise we will carry out other qualitative operations.”
Iranian forces fired missiles at Arbil airport in January 2020, a few days following the assassination of General Qasem Soleimani at Baghdad airport.