PM, Kurdistan presidency condemn attacks on Erbil airport, base in Bashiqa

Ambulances are being sent to the site after the Erbil International Airport was targeted by an explosives-laden drone, Erbil, April 14, 2021. (Anadolu Agency)

SULAIMANI (ESTA) — The Kurdish prime minister and the Region’s presidency denounced “terrorist attacks” that targeted a base hosting U.S.-led Coalition forces at Erbil airport and a training camp near Bashiqa where Turkish troops are stationed.

An explosives-laden drone targeted a coalition base at Erbil international airport on Wednesday night, according to the Kurdistan Region’s ministry of interior. It caused no casualties.

Coalition spokesman Col. Wayne Marotto said the drone landed on a storage hanger at Erbil airport base and confirmed there were no injuries, according to AP.

Shortly before the attack in Erbil, at least two rockets landed on and near a base to the west of the city that hosts Turkish forces, Iraqi security officials said.

Turkey’s defense ministry said a Turkish soldier was killed after one of the rockets landed inside the base.

Sources told Iraqi media that the other rocket landed inside a village near the base, killing a young woman.

Turkey also has troops in Iraq both as part of a NATO contingent and a force that has attacked Kurdish separatist militants in the north.

Kurdish Prime Minister Masrour Barzani said the attacks were a “blatant attempt” to undermine the Kurdistan Region’s security.

“I condemn in the strongest terms tonight’s terror attacks on Erbil International Airport and Turkish military base in Bashiqa, and I condemn the terror group behind them,” Barzani said in a tweet.

“Any armed groups which are not operating within the official Iraqi security forces must be withdrawn from the Kurdistan Region border. Over the coming days, I will hold talks with Iraqi and international partners on practical ways to make this happen,” he tweeted.

Barzani further said he had spoken with Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi and Parliament Speaker Mohammed al-Halbousi to reaffirm shared goal to hold the perpetrators accountable.

Separately, the Kurdistan Region’s presidency said the attacks would further complicate the situation in Iraq.

“The repetition of these attacks requires serious efforts, and the Kurdistan Region and the federal government backed by the international coalition should increase cooperation and assistance to confront those groups behind these attacks,” it said in a statement.

The Iran-backed militias oppose both the presence of the United States and Turkey and demand a full withdrawal of all foreign troops.

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