Iraq demands “clear explanation” from Iran over Erbil attack, summons ambassador
Iraq demanded a “frank and clear explanation” from Iran regarding the ballistic missile attack on its Kurdish regional capital of Erbil, the Ministerial Council for National Security said on Sunday, and the country's foreign ministry summoned the Iranian ambassador to protest the attack.
“Iraq has requested, through diplomatic channels, frank and clear explanation from the Iranian side, and is awaiting a stance from the Iranian political leadership in rejecting the aggression,” the council said, according to state news agency INA.
The foreign ministry said in a statement it “summoned Iran's ambassador to Iraq to protest the Iranian missile bombardment of Erbil and the material losses it caused, and damage to civilian facilities and housing for citizens, in addition to spreading fear among the residents of those areas.”
Earlier on Sunday, Iraq’s autonomous Kurdistan region security forces announced that a “dozen ballistic missiles” targeted Erbil, including the US consulate under construction, causing damage but without any major casualties.
The Iranian Revolutionary Guards claimed the attack which they said targeted Israeli “strategic centers” in Erbil.
The attack on Erbil comes after the IRGC announced last Tuesday that an Israeli strike killed two of its members in Syria, vowing to take revenge.The Iraqi council said: “Iraq had previously announced its refusal to violate its sovereignty and use its lands to settle scores between states and parties, stressing its stance of rejecting the use of its lands to attack neighboring countries.”
The US condemned the missile strike on Erbil. State Department Spokesman Ned Price said: “The strikes were an outrageous violation of Iraq’s sovereignty. No US facilities were damaged or personnel injured, and we have no indications the attack was directed at the US. Iran must immediately cease its attacks, respect Iraqi sovereignty, and halt its interference in Iraq’s internal affairs.”
Locations of American forces and contractors in Iraq have been regularly targeted with missile attacks. The attacks have been claimed by groups that both US and Iraqi officials have described as smokescreens for well-known Iran-aligned armed factions in Iraq.