Multiple rockets hit a US military base and a nearby airport in Erbil, the capital of Iraqi Kurdistan, on Monday night. Initial reports say one civilian contractor was killed, five others were wounded, and one US soldier was also wounded. Two other civilians were wounded outside of the base, according to local security officials.
A US military spokesman said more details will follow, and the nationality of the contractor that was killed is not clear at this time. The attack also impacted the Chinese consulate in Erbil.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken released a statement on the incident. “We are outraged by today’s rocket attack in the Iraqi Kurdistan Region,” he said. Blinken did not attribute blame and added that he discussed the attack with Kurdistan Prime Minister Masrour Barzani.
A little-known group named Saraya Awliya al-Dam took credit for the attack, but it’s not yet known if they were responsible. Barzani said he ordered an investigation into the attack and has spoken with Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi about the incident.
The incident is the first deadly attack on a US military base since March of last year when two US soldiers and one British soldier were killed in an attack on Camp Taji, a base to the north of Baghdad.
US officials and media outlets are quick to blame these types of attacks on Iran or Iran-backed militias, but there are plenty of forces inside Iraq that have their own reasons to fire on US troops.