More than a dozen rockets fell on Erbil and the international airport Monday, killing one person and injuring six US servicemen, in the most recent attack launched by Iran-backed factions against US forces.

Half a dozen of the rockets targeted residential areas, wounding four civilians.

The Sec-Gen of the Ministry of Peshmerga Affairs Jabar Yawar said that the operation was carried out using 108 mm rockets with a range of no more than 8 kilometers.

Yawar told Asharq Al-Awsat that for the first time, these groups were able to breach the security cordon, using the open terrain surrounding the area, which made it easier for them to attack.

He indicated that the lack of intelligence and military coordination between the Peshmerga and the federal forces, despite the ongoing negotiations between the two governments, enabled these groups to execute the operation.

The president of the Kurdistan region sent an official statement to the federal government and the Security Council stressing the need to intensify efforts and bolster coordination between Iraqi, Peshmerga, and the international coalition forces in the area.

This operation is similar to all operations against US targets in Iraq, executed by armed groups with fictitious names that show their opposition to foreign presence in the country, according to Yawar.

The Sec-Gen believes such groups are one of the challenges facing the Iraqi Prime Minister, Mustafa al-Kadhimi, and present a threat to the security and stability of the region.

Political analyst Omar Abdulqader told Asharq Al-Awsat that the attack is a “dangerous precedent” aiming to convey several messages, notably the groups’ ability to target US bases, even if they are based deep in the security-fortified Kurdistan region.

The group also wanted to inform the Kurdistan region that they can break its security, according to the analyst.

A group calling itself Saraya Awliya al-Dam claimed responsibility for the attack on the US-led base, saying it targeted the “American occupation” in Iraq. Last August, it announced its responsibility for an attack in Nineveh targeting coalition forces’ convoy en route to Kurdistan.

Iran condemned speculation on its involvement in the rocket attack on Erbil as “suspicious,” asserting that the stability and security of Iraq are central to the region and its neighbors.

Fars news agency quoted Iranian foreign ministry spokesperson Saeed Khatibzadeh as saying that the “suspicious attempts to link the Erbil attacks to Iran are condemned,” stressing that Tehran “rejects any attempt that disturbs the peace and order of the country.”

Mahmoud Kifah, an advisor of the leader of the Kurdistan Democratic Party Masoud Barzan, told Asharq Al-Awsat that there were clear indications of the group’s affiliation with the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC).

He indicated that an Iranian-made weapon was used in this operation, adding that initial investigations revealed that “Fajr-1” was among the missiles launched at Erbil.

Kifah stressed that this operation aims to send a message to US President Joe Biden and test his administration’s policies in the region, and the extent of its support for the Kurdistan region.

The second message is directed at Kadhimi and his reform program, while the third is aimed at the Kurdistan region because of its clear opposition to the incursion of illegal militias.

Source » aawsat