Iraq’s PM in Erbil to discuss missile attack with Kurdish officials – reporter

SULAIMANI (ESTA) — Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi arrived in Erbil on Monday, one day after a missile attack hit the city.

Esta Media Network reporter in Erbil said Kadhimi, commander-in-chief of the armed forces, was welcomed by Kurdistan Region’s Prime Minister Masrour Barzani at Erbil international airport.

He was accompanied by the ministers of interior and defense as well as a number of other government’s officials.

Kadhimi is expected to discuss Sunday’s missile attack on Erbil with Kurdish officials, according to the reporter.

In the early hours of Sunday, 12 missiles were fired by Iran’s Revolutionary Guards at a residential area in Erbil city. Kurdish authorities said there were no casualties but damages to buildings in the area.

“Any repetition of attacks by Israel will be met with a harsh, decisive and destructive response,” the Revolutionary Guards said in a statement reported by state media, according to Reuters.

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

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

Kadhimi condemned the attack in a tweet, saying the aggression was an attack on the security of Iraqis.

The Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) Council of Ministers called on the international community including the Iranian government to investigate the missile attack and visit the location targeted by the missiles.

“The cowardly attack on Erbil … allegedly under the pretext of hitting an Israeli base near the US Consulate in Erbil, targeted civilian locations and its justification is only to hide the disgracefulness of such offense,” presidency of the KRG Council of Ministers said in a statement.

“We reiterate that the propaganda of the perpetrators of this attack is far from true.

“Iran has repeated these attacks many times, and the silence of the international community in the face of these cowardly attacks will pave the way for their continuation,” it added.

“We call on the United Nations, the United States, the European Union, the Arab League, the federal government, the Iraqi parliament, and the Iranian government to urgently investigate these baseless attacks, visit targeted locations, reveal the facts to the public, and take a true and strong stance on these attacks.”

Meanwhile, the U.S. State Department said indications showed that the target wasn’t the United States and that no American troops were attacked.

“The United States strongly condemns the missile strikes on Erbil, Iraq last night that emanated from Iran,” the U.S. State Department said in a statement.

“The strikes were an outrageous violation of Iraq’s sovereignty.”

It also said Iran “must immediately cease its attacks, respect Iraqi sovereignty, and halt its interference in Iraq’s internal affairs”.

“The United States stands with our Iraqi partners, including in the Kurdistan Region, and will help our partners in the region defend themselves.”

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