Rockets kill civilian entrepreneurs, injure US service members, others in Erbil, Iraq

People are inspecting the area where one of the rockets fired hit the Bahtiyari neighborhood on Monday in Erbil, Iraq.

Yunus Keles / Anadolu Agency via Getty Images


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Yunus Keles / Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

People are inspecting the area where one of the rockets fired hit the Bahtiyari neighborhood on Monday in Erbil, Iraq.

Yunus Keles / Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

A civilian entrepreneur has died and a U.S. service member and five other contractors have been injured in an incident at a base used by the U.S.-led coalition in the northern Iraqi city of Erbil.

The spokesman for the Iraqi coalition, Colonel Wayne Marotto, tweeted that the incident was due to indirect fire and that more information would follow. He did not identify the nationality of the contractors.

The attack hit the city of Erbil at night, people hearing explosions and sirens. Local media reported that rockets fell in several areas in and around the city and that more people were being treated for injuries at the hospital.

The identity of the attackers was not immediately clear, and US forces are often targeted by forces including ISIS, but US officials including former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has blamed Iran-backed groups for past attacks on U.S. forces in recent years.

Tensions between Iran and the United States have spread to Iraqi soil.

Last January, the top Iranian commander-in-chief, Major General Qassem Soleimani, was killed in a US drone strike in Baghdad along with the Iraqi official known as Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, who was seen close to Iran. Pompeo spoke afterwards the importance of a “real deterrent” policy against Iran. In the wake of this, Iran retaliated with a barrage of missiles aimed at US troops at the Ain Al Asad base in western Iraq. No one was killed, but many were later diagnosed with brain damage.

In recent months, attacks on US forces have become less frequent, but analysts and diplomats have suggested that Iran may now try to test President Biden’s administration in Washington.

The number of US troops in Iraq has been reduced, but there are still about 2,500 service members here.

Iraqi officials immediately expressed revolt. In a statement, Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi called for an investigation into the attack. President Barham Saleh tweeted that targeting Erbil was a serious escalation and undermined efforts to ensure the security of the Iraqi people.

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