Drone Attack Hits near US forces in Northern Iraq
According to security forces and officials in the Kurdish-run region, explosives-laden drones targeted Irbil international airport in northern Iraq late Saturday, where US-led coalition troops are stationed, with no casualties reported.
LawkGhafuri, a spokesman for the northern region’s semi-autonomous region, said the explosives were detonated outside the airport and denied reports that the attack had disrupted flights. He stated that the airport remained open and that Kurdish authorities were conducting an investigation.
The attack is the first in two months after a two-month lull in drone and rocket attacks on the US presence in Baghdad and military bases throughout Iraq. On July 8, rockets landed in and around Baghdad’s heavily fortified Green Zone, which houses the US Embassy. It resulted in property damage but no casualties.
These types of attacks, which usually target US troops or US interests in Iraq, have become more common in recent months. Despite the fact that no one claims responsibility, Washington blames pro-Iranian forces in Iraq.
The use of weaponry drones is a more recent development that poses a new challenge to coalition forces and the C-Ram anti-missile defense systems installed by the US. In July, booby-trapped drones were launched against Erbil International Airport, but no casualties or material damage were reported.
US Blamed Iran-backed Militias for Attack
Until recently, the attacks were fairly common. The US has blamed the attacks on Iran-backed militias. Attacks have recently become more sophisticated, with militants employing drones instead of Katyusha rockets.
US forces will leave Iraq by the end of the year but will continue to train and advise the Iraqi military. Currently, 2,500 US troops are in Iraq assisting local forces in combating the remnants of the Islamic State group.
According to its director, Ahmed Hochiar, the airport, which also serves as a base for a coalition force of anti-jihadist troops, suffered no damage.
An AFP correspondent heard two loud explosions, saw black smoke rising into the sky, and heard sirens near the US consulate.
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