Bomb-laden drones target new US consulate in Erbil

Bomb-laden drones target new US consulate in Erbil
The US consulate in Erbil has condemned the incident, calling it "a clear violation of Iraqi sovereignty".
2 min read
26 June, 2021
In a statement on Saturday afternoon, Kurdistan’s counter-terrorism unit confirmed the incident [AFP via Getty]

Bomb-laden drones targeted a village near the construction site of the new US consulate in Erbil, the capital of Iraq's northern Kurdistan region, in the early hours of Saturday, security officials said.

The attack involved three unmanned aerial vehicles that all carried explosives, Rudaw report, citing security officials of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG).

The sources said the drones hit two houses in the village of Bragh, only three kilometres away from the construction site of the new US consulate outside Erbil. No casualties were reported.

One drone did not explode. A video from the area shows heavy damage to a civilian residence.

In a statement on Saturday, Kurdistan's counter-terrorism unit confirmed the incident, adding that another drone had landed in a separate unpopulated area.

The US consulate condemned the incident on Twitter, saying it represented "a clear violation of Iraqi sovereignty".

It is the second such incident to rock the autonomous region in recent months. In April, pro-Iran fighters sent explosive-laden drones into the northern Erbil airport, marking the first use of such weapons against a base for US soldiers in Iraq.

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In February, over a dozen rockets struck a military complex within the airport, which houses US-led coalition forces helping Iraq fight the Islamic State group. The strike killed an Iraqi civilian and a foreign contractor working for the coalition.

Dozens of bombs or rocket attacks have targeted bases housing coalition troops or foreign diplomats across Iraq including in Baghdad since US President Joe Biden took office.

Similar attacks under the Trump administration were blamed on pro-Iran militias, sharply raising tensions between Washington and Tehran.

Observers believe the attacks are aimed at pressuring Washington to remove all remaining soldiers from country, which pro-Iran factions deem an occupying force.

President Biden has resumed strategic talks with Baghdad, initiated by his predecessor, which have the withdrawal of US troops as a key agenda item.