Iran strongly rejects rumors about Erbil attack

February 16, 2021 - 17:13

TEHRAN – Iran’s Foreign Ministry has strongly rejected rumors ascribing a deadly rocket attack on the Iraqi city of Erbil to Iran.

“The Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman categorically rejected allegations ascribing the Monday night's rocket attack on the city of Erbil in the Iraqi Kurdistan region to Iran,” the ministry said in a statement on Tuesday.

An American airbase in Erbil came under a rocket attack on Monday night. The attack killed a foreign civilian contractor and wounded nine others, including Americans.

Officials said that the rockets were launched from an area south of the main city Erbil near the border with Kirkuk province and also fell on some residential areas close to Erbil airport.

An unidentified group called Awliyaa al-Dam claimed responsibility for the attack.

“The American occupation will not be safe from our strikes in any inch of the homeland, even in Kurdistan, where we promise we will carry out other qualitative operations,” the group said, according to Aljazeera.

The United States reacted angrily to the base assault outside the international airport in Erbil, capital of Iraq’s semi-autonomous Kurdish region.

“We are outraged by today’s rocket attack in the Iraqi Kurdistan Region. Initial reports indicate that the attacks killed one civilian contractor and injured several members of the Coalition, including one American service member and several American contractors,” Secretary of State Anthony Blinken said in a statement.

While Iraqi authorities are still conducting investigations into the attack, some media outlets propagated rumors linking the attack to Iran.

But Iran strongly rejected these rumors.

“Iran not only strongly rejects these rumors, but also flatly condemns suspicious attempts to attribute the attack to Iran,” Saeed Khatibzadeh, spokesman for the Iranian ministry said.

“Iran regards Iraq’s stability and security as a key issue for the region and neighboring countries, and dismisses any move that would disrupt tranquility and order in this country,” he added.

He described such actions as “suspicious,” urging the Iraqi government to issue the necessary orders to deal with those behind such moves.

Local authorities in Iraqi Kurdistan are investigating the attack. Masrour Barzani, prime minister of the Kurdistan region of Iraq, said he spoke with Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi and U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken about the attack.

“I condemn in the strongest terms tonight’s rocket attacks on Erbil. I urge all Kurdistanis to remain calm. I’ve instructed security services to start a full investigation and spoke with PM @MAKadhimi on ways to cooperate and identify the outlaws behind this terror attack,” Barzani said in a tweet on Monday.

“I spoke with @SecBlinken about the cowardly attack on Erbil. We agreed to coordinate closely in the investigation to identify the outlaws behind it,” he added.

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