Kurdish officials have disclosed that a dozen ballistic missiles launched from outside Iraq hit the region. In relation to this, the governor of Erbil, Omed Khoshnaw, said it was a terrorist attack on the U.S. consulate. The Kurdish Ministry of Interior stated that one civilian was injured as a result of the attack and the new consulate suffered construction damage.
A U.S. State Department spokesman called the attack an atrocity, noting that no Americans were injured and no U.S. government facilities in Erbil were damaged. For his part, the prime minister of the Kurdish regional government of northern Iraq, Masrour Barzani, condemned the terrorist attack, saying that Erbil will not bow to cowards.
An Iraqi security official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said that it is early to blame a specific party. Still, initial reports show that it was a cross-border short-range missile attack unarguably. He added that parts of the missiles fired were recovered, noting that Iran manufactured them.
A house damaged by an Iranian ballistic missile attack is seen in Irbil, Iraq, Sunday, March 23, 2022. Iran has claimed responsibility for a missile barrage that struck early Sunday near a sprawling U.S. consulate complex in the northern Iraqi city of Irbil, (AP Photo) pic.twitter.com/bi5kdgughN
U.S. forces stationed at Erbil's international airport complex have been the target of rocket and drone attacks in the past, which U.S. officials have attributed to armed groups aligned with Iran. Still, attacks of this type have not been carried out for several months.
Osama Bin Javaid, radio and television journalist based in Doha, Qatar, stated that there is no official confirmation that these 12 missiles were fired from Iran. Still, officials have been ordered to investigate in an attempt to find out where these missiles came from and what the motive was. He added that such an attack came at a critical time in Iran's relations with the world when talks in Vienna on reviving the 2015 nuclear deal have been abandoned.
Iraq has been rocked by chronic instability since the defeat of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) group in 2017 by a loose coalition of U.S.-led and Iranian-backed Iraqi forces. Since then, U.S. and Iraqi officials say that Iran-aligned groups have regularly attacked U.S. military and diplomatic sites in Iraq. Iran has rejected any involvement in those attacks.