Missiles strike near US consulate in north Iraq

Ground Report | New Delhi: Missiles strike in Iraq; At least six missiles were fired at the US consulate in the northern Iraqi city of Irbil on Sunday, with several hitting the building, the US and Iraqi security forces said. A US official said the missiles were launched from neighbouring Iran.

No casualties from the Saturday night attack that caused material damage in the area had been reported so far, officials said, requesting anonymity because of their regulations.

Officials in Iraq and the United States gave differing accounts of the attack and the damage it caused. A second US official said there was no damage to any US government facility and there was no indication that the target was the consulate building, which is new and currently unoccupied.

An Iraqi official in Baghdad first said that several missiles had hit the US consulate and that that was the target of the attack. Later, Lawk Ghafari, head of Kurdistan’s foreign media office, said that none of the missiles hit the US installations, but that the areas around the compound had been hit by the missiles.

The US defence official said he was not yet sure how many missiles were fired and exactly where they landed. Neither US official was authorized to discuss the event by name and spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity.

Iraqi security officials said there were no immediate reports of casualties from the attack, which they said occurred shortly after midnight and caused property damage in the area. They spoke on the condition of anonymity in accordance with regulations.

One of the Iraqi officials said the ballistic missiles were fired from Iran, without elaborating. US officials could not confirm the type of missile.

The second US official said the incident was being investigated by the Iraqi government and the Kurdish regional government. The United States condemned what it called an “outrageous attack on Iraqi sovereignty and a display of violence,” the official said in a statement.

On Sunday, Iran’s state-run IRNA news agency quoted Iraqi media as acknowledging the attacks in Erbil, without saying where they originated.

The Kurdistan24 satellite broadcast channel, which is located near the US consulate, went on air from its studio shortly after the attack, showing broken glass and debris on the studio floor.

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