US soldier wounded in Iraq rocket attack

Contractor killed and five others wounded in rocket attack targeting an airbase in Iraq's Kurdistan region.

Elad Benari , | updated: 5:35 AM

American soldier on armored vehicle in Iraq
American soldier on armored vehicle in Iraq
Reuters

A volley of rockets targeting an airbase in Iraq's Kurdistan region on Monday killed a foreign civilian contractor and wounded five others, among them a US soldier, AFP reports.

At around 9:30 p.m. local time several loud explosions were heard in the northwestern outskirts of Arbil, the capital of Iraq's autonomous Kurdistan region, according to the news agency.

Iraqi and Western security sources told AFP that at least three rockets were fired in the direction of the city's airport, where foreign troops are based as part of an international alliance fighting the Islamic State (ISIS) group.

Coalition spokesman Colonel Wayne Marotto confirmed to AFP that the dead contractor was not Iraqi, but could not give immediate details on the victim's nationality.

Two other rockets hit residential neighborhoods on Arbil's outskirts.

The attack was the first time Western military or diplomatic installations have been targeted in Iraq in nearly two months and the first time this has occurred since US President Joe Biden took office.

Rocket attacks have regularly targeted Iraqi bases as well as the fortified Green Zone in Baghdad, where the US embassy is located, since the US elimination of top Iranian General Qassem Soleimani last January.

Former US President Donald Trump had warned the Islamic Republic against further attacks on American interests in Iraq and said, “Some friendly health advice to Iran: If one American is killed, I will hold Iran responsible. Think it over.”

It is unclear yet how Biden will respond to Monday’s attack. US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the United States is "outraged" by the attack.

"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," Blinken said in a statement.

The US withdrew some staff from its embassy in Baghdad in December, temporarily reducing personnel ahead of the first anniversary of the air strike that killed Soleimani.



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