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Drone attack targets Kurdish Iraq’s Arbil airport – Times of India


ARBIL, Iraq: An attack Wednesday on an airport in Arbil, capital of Iraqi Kurdistan, was carried out by drone, the Kurdish inside ministry stated, in an unprecedented escalation of the arms used to focus on US troopers primarily based there.
“A drone charged with TNT targeted a coalition base at Arbil’s airport,” the ministry stated, including that nobody was harm within the blast however a constructing was broken.
A Turkish soldier was killed by rocket fireplace at across the identical time at a army base 50 kilometres (30 miles) east in Bashiqa, Ankara stated, however there was no quick affirmation of any hyperlink between the 2 assaults.
“We strongly condemn tonight’s terror attacks in Erbil and Bashiqa,” the Kurdish area’s premier Masrour Barzani stated in a tweet after talking with Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu.
“We agreed to stay in close contact as the investigation continues.”
There was no quick declare of accountability for the airport drone attack, which brought on an explosion heard throughout Arbil.
But a shadowy pro-Iranian group calling itself Awliyaa al-Dam (Guardians of Blood), which claimed accountability for the same attack on the airport in February, hailed the blast in pro-Tehran channels on the messaging app Telegram.
A safety cordon blocked all entry to the airport, witnesses reported. The governor stated air hyperlinks weren’t interrupted.
“Outraged by reports of attacks in the Iraqi Kurdistan Region,” US State Department spokesman Ned Price stated on Twitter.
“The Iraqi people have suffered for far too long from this kind of violence and violation of their sovereignty.”
Some 20 bomb or rocket assaults have focused bases housing American troopers or diplomats in Iraq since US President Joe Biden took workplace on the finish of January.
Dozens extra passed off over the previous 18 months, with Washington constantly blaming pro-Iran factions.
Washington and Tehran are each allies of Baghdad, however stay sharply at odds over Iran’s nuclear programme.
On February 15, greater than a dozen rockets focused a army advanced inside Arbil airport, killing an Iraqi civilian and a overseas contractor working with US-led troops.
The advanced hosts overseas troops deployed as half of a US-led coalition serving to Iraq battle the so-referred to as Islamic State group, a battle that Baghdad declared as gained in late 2017.
“It seems the same militia who targeted the airport two months ago are at it again,” Iraq’s former overseas minister Hoshyar Zebari, a outstanding Kurdish political determine, posted on Twitter in an allusion to pro-Iranian factions.
“This is a clear & dangerous escalation.”
Pro-Iran teams have been ratcheting up their rhetoric, vowing to ramp up assaults to pressure out the “occupying” US forces, over a yr after the Iraqi parliament voted to expel the American troops.
Counter-terrorism officers stated just one rocket hit the airport on this event.
But an Iraqi safety supply instructed AFP that different rockets had crashed within the neighborhood, together with one focusing on the Turkish troops.
Turkey has had troops within the space for greater than twenty years as half of its bid to crush the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) rebels, who’ve been waging an insurgency in opposition to the Turkish state since 1984.
Earlier Wednesday, two bombs additionally exploded on roads the place Iraqi logistics convoys had been carrying tools for the worldwide coalition within the southern provinces of Dhi Qar and Diwaniyah, based on safety sources.
The United States final week dedicated to maneuver all remaining fight forces from Iraq, though the 2 nations didn’t set a timeline for what could be the second withdrawal because the 2003 invasion.
The announcement got here because the Biden administration resumed a “strategic dialogue” with the federal government of Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhemi, who’s seen as too near Washington by Iraq’s highly effective pro-Iranian factions.
The area of Kurdistan has been autonomous since 1991 and has a inhabitants of 5 million.

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