ERBIL, Iraq — One contractor was killed and several others wounded, including a U.S. service member, in a rocket attack targeting the U.S. military base near Erbil International Airport in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq (KRI) on Monday evening.
According to the spokesperson for Operation Inherent Resolve (OIR), U.S. Col. Wayne Marotto, three shells fell within the vicinity of the airport.
“Update: CJTF-OIR confirms approx. 14 107 mm rockets launched with 3 impacting within EAB, Feb 15 at 2130 hours (Iraqi time),” wrote Col. Marotto via Twitter. “One civilian contractor was killed (Not US), and 9 injured (8 CIV contractors / 1 US MIL) – 4 US / 1 US MIL concussion protocol.”
Several other rockets fell in residential areas, injuring several civilians. According to BAS News, the Kurdistan Regional Government’s Ministry of Health announced there were at least three injured civilians.
Iraqi President Barham Salih stated that the targeting of Erbil is a dangerous escalation which undermines national efforts to protect the security and safety of the region.
“We have no choice but to firmly strengthen our efforts to root out terrorism and the attempts to plunge the country into chaos,” he added.
Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi ordered the formation of a joint investigation committee with the concerned authorities of the KRI to determine who was responsible for the attack.
In a statement, U.S. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken confirmed that the U.S. will hold those responsible for the attack to account, adding that he had contacted Prime Minister of the KRI Masrour Barzani to discuss the situation.
Last September, Erbil airport was subjected to a similar attack. Kurdish leaders at the time accused the Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF) of being behind the attack.