Blinken spoke to Iraqi prime minister after Erbil rocket attack

Secretary of State Antony Blinken takes questions during his first press briefing, January 27, 2021. (Reuters)

SULAIMANI (ESTA) — U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken spoke to Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi on Tuesday, after a rocket attack on U.S.-led forces in Erbil on Monday killed a civilian contractor and injured a U.S. service member.

Responsibility for the attack was claimed by a little-known group that some Iraqi officials say has links with Iran.

“The Secretary conveyed his outrage at the multiple rocket attacks yesterday in Erbil,” the state department said in a statement.

Blinken encouraged Kadhimi to continue to work closely with the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) to address “violent extremists”.

Both sides discussed efforts underway to identify and hold accountable the groups responsible for the rocket attack, as well as Baghdad’s  responsibility and commitment to protect U.S. and Coalition personnel in Iraq who are in Iraq at the government’s invitation to fight ISIS.

Spokesperson of the U.S. State Department Ned Price said he did not want to get ahead of an investigation into who was responsible for the attack, but that the United States reserved the right to respond “at a time and place of our choosing.”

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