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Ballistic Missiles Hit Iraq’s Kurdish Capital; No Casualties

A dozen ballistic missiles launched from outside Iraq struck the country’s northern Kurdish regional capital, Irbil, on Sunday, Kurdish officials said, adding there were no casualties.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility or further details available. A U.S. State Department spokesperson called it an “outrageous attack” but said no Americans were hurt and there was no damage to U.S. government facilities in Irbil.

Iraqi state TV quoted the Kurdistan region’s counterterrorism force as saying 12 missiles launched from outside Iraq hit Irbil. It was not immediately clear where they landed.

U.S. forces stationed at Irbil’s international airport complex have in the past come under fire from rocket and drone attacks that U.S. officials blame on Iran-aligned militia groups, but no such attacks have occurred for several months.

The last time ballistic missiles were directed at U.S. forces was in January 2020, an Iranian retaliation for the U.S. killing earlier that month of its military commander Qassem Soleimani at Baghdad airport.

No U.S. personnel were killed in the 2020 attack, but many suffered head injuries.

Iraq and neighboring Syria are regularly the scene of violence between the United States and Iran. Iran-backed Shi’ite Islamist militias have attacked U.S. forces in both countries and Washington has on occasion retaliated with air strikes.

An Israeli air strike in Syria on Monday killed two members of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), Iranian state media said this week. The IRGC vowed to retaliate, it said.

Kurdish officials did not immediately say where the missiles struck. A spokesperson for the regional authorities said there were no flight interruptions at Irbil airport.

Iraq has been rocked by chronic instability since the defeat of the Sunni Islamist group Islamic State in 2017 by a loose coalition of Iraqi, U.S.-led and Iran-backed forces.

Since then, Iran-aligned militias have regularly attacked U.S. military and diplomatic sites in Iraq, U.S. and many Iraqi officials say. Iran denies involvement in those attacks.

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