Iraq News

Pro-Iran faction fires rockets at US forces in Iraq's Kurdish region



A picture taken on March 13th shows destruction at Karbala airport in the Iraqi shrine city, one of the areas targeted by US military air strikes against a pro-Iranian group in Iraq following the deaths of two Americans and a Briton in a rocket attack the previous night on a US base in Taji. Washington has blamed Iran-backed factions from the PMF for recent similar violence. [Mohammed Sawaf / AFP]

The counter-terrorism division of Iraq's autonomous Kurdish region on Wednesday (September 30th) accused the Popular Mobilisation forces (PMF), a state-sponsored paramilitary network dominated by pro-Iran forces, of targeting US forces in a rocket attack.

"Six rockets were fired from Ninawa province by the PMF, targeting Erbil airport," where US troops are based, it said in a statement.

Souran Ali, a commander of the Democratic Party of Iranian Kurdistan (PDK-I) -- an Iranian opposition group that operates in Iraq's Kurdish region -- earlier said three rockets had been fired, without causing casualties.

Three rockets "targeted at 8.30 p.m. a headquarters of the PDK-I two kilometres" from Erbil airport, he said.

Video footage circulating online purported to show fires started by the rockets.

Hoshyar Zebari, a former Iraqi foreign minister and an Iraqi Kurdish politician, said on Twitter that the rockets were fired by the "same groups who are attacking #USEmbassy in #Baghdad and its convoys. Action is needed to stop it".

Around 40 rocket attacks have targeted US interests in Iraq since early August, including one on Monday that hit a village close to Baghdad airport, where American troops are stationed. That attack killed five children and two women from the same family.

The US State Department on Tuesday pointed the finger at Iran-backed militias operating in Iraq, saying they "pose an unacceptable danger" in Iraq.

Washington has threatened to close its embassy in Iraq and withdraw its 3,000 troops from the country unless the rockets stop.

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