1. Skip to content
  2. Skip to main menu
  3. Skip to more DW sites
Erbil International Airport
Image: picture-alliance/dpa/Sputnik/V. Sergeev

Iraq: Rockets target US-led coalition base in Erbil

October 1, 2020

Just hours after Iraq's government pledged to protect overseas missions in the country, a series of rockets were launched at a US base in Iraqi Kurdistan. The rockets were intercepted and caused no damage.


Several rockets believed to be targeting US troops were launched near Erbil airport in the semi-autonomous Kurdistan Region of Iraq on Wednesday, a Kurdish security agency said.

The attack in Erbil, a rare target for rockets, is considered a serious escalation by Iraqi officials and it came hours after Iraq's prime minister had pledged to improve protection of foreign missions in his country.

Read more: Can Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi stay the course?

"Six rockets were launched from the borders of the Sheikh Amir village in Nineveh province by the Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF) who were targeting coalition forces in Erbil International Airport," Iraqi Kurdistan's counterterrorism service said.

The PMF are an umbrella group composed of mostly Iran-backed Iraqi Shiite militias that is part of Iraq's armed forces.

According to the statement, the missiles were intercepted and did not cause any major damage. But one of the rockets is said to have hit the headquarters of an Iranian-Kurdish opposition party that is banned in Iran, the Iraqi Kurdistan's counterterrorism service said.

US Army Colonel Wayne Marotto, spokesman for the US-led coalition, confirmed that initial reports indicated that indirect fire did not land on coalition forces in Erbil.

"There was no damage or casualties. Incident is under investigation," he wrote on Twitter.

US threatens to close embassy

The US-led coalition currently maintains a troop presence on a base inside Ibril airport, while the country's diplomatic compound is located in the heavily fortified Green Zone in Baghdad. 

The compound has been regularly targeted by rockets and as the frequency of those attacks has increased, the US has threatened to close the embassy unless decisive action was taken to reign in Shiite militias suspected of attacking it.

Kurdish officials, and former Finance Minister Hoshiyar Zebari, said Wednesday's rocket incident in Erbil was ''yet another escalation'' to undermine security in the country by ''the same groups who are attacking the US embassy in Baghdad and its convoys. Action is needed to stop it.''

jcg/rs (AP, Reuters)

Skip next section Explore more
Skip next section Related topics
Skip next section DW's Top Story

DW's Top Story

Liubov Yarosh, a 102-year-old Ukrainian, wearing a headscarf and a black, white and purple patterned shirt

Holodomor survivor: 'I want to witness this victory'

Skip next section More stories from DW
Go to homepage