Contractor killed in Iraqi rocket attack on US forces

Cleanup at site of Iraqi rocket attack
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U.S. coalition forces said a rocket attack Monday on a military air base in northern Iraq killed a civilian contractor.

The rockets, which hit the base at Erbil International Airport and the surrounding area, injured nine people, eight of them civilian contractors and a U.S. service member.

The contractor who was killed was not an American, Col. Wayne Marotto, a spokesperson for coalition forces, tweeted early Tuesday.

“KRG [Kurdistan Regional Government] are leading investigation. Further information will be released as it becomes available,” he added.

A U.S. official told Reuters the injured service member had a concussion.

Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Menendez (D-N.J) condemned the attack and called for an investigation by Iraq’s prime minister. 

“This latest attack demonstrates the importance of robust security cooperation between the Iraqi Security Forces and those of Iraqi Kurdistan; and I encourage the United States to continue to support security coordination efforts,” Menendez said in a statement. “The Iraqi people have suffered for too long under these kinds of brazen acts of violence, which only serve to undermine the sovereignty and stability of their nation.”

Secretary of State Antony Blinken also said the U.S. was “outraged” by the attack.

“I have reached out to Kurdistan Regional Government Prime Minister Masrour Barzani to discuss the incident and to pledge our support for all efforts to investigate and hold accountable those responsible,” Blinken said in a statement.

The militant Shia group Saraya Awliya al-Dam claimed credit for the attack, saying the target was American forces. It comes after a series of attacks in recent weeks by groups with links to Iran in both Iraq and Yemen, most of which resulted in no casualties.

President Biden took office amid high tension between Washington and Tehran and has said he will explore a return to the 2015 nuclear deal, which the Trump administration withdrew from in 2018. Iran has said any such return to the deal will depend on the removal of heavy U.S. sanctions.

Updated at 11:27 a.m. 

Tags Antony Blinken Bob Menendez Iraq Joe Biden
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