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Iran admits missile fire at capital of Iraqi Kurdish region

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Iran admits missile fire at capital of Iraqi Kurdish region

Iran claimed responsibility for the missile attack that hit the capital of Iraq’s northern Kurdish region, Erbil, in the early hours of Sunday (13/03).

Iraq’s Foreign Ministry summoned Iran’s ambassador to protest the attack, calling it a flagrant violation of its sovereignty. No serious injuries were reported, but the studio of the Kurdish TV channel K24 and other buildings nearby were damaged.

Iran’s Revolutionary Guards said on its website that it launched an attack on Israel’s “strategic conspiracy center” in Erbil, warning of more attacks.

The statement did not give details, but said Israel itself carried out the attack that killed two Revolutionary Guards. However, Israel did not respond to the accusations.

During a phone call with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi said his country should not be “a stage for solving external problems.”

US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan said the US condemned the attack “in the strongest terms.”

“We will support the Iraqi government in holding Iran accountable and we will support our partners throughout the Middle East in the face of similar threats from Iran,” Sullivan said in a statement issued by the White House.

“This attack targeted a civilian settlement in Erbil, the capital of the Kurdistan region, without any justification,” he added. The US is reportedly helping Iraq in terms of missile defense.

While the Kurdish regional government denies that there is an Israeli center on its territory. Instead, it said Iran targeted missiles at the US consulate and instead hit the area around the compound. However, Washington appears to refute the claims, saying they have “no indication that the attack was directed at the United States.”

US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan said Washington was trying to bolster Iraq’s defenses.

“We are consulting with the Iraqi government and the government in Iraqi Kurdistan, in part to help them gain missile defense capabilities so they can defend themselves in their cities,” Sullivan told CBS.

Germany’s Foreign Office condemned the attack, saying it would hinder the fight against ISIS.

“The attack on diplomatic personnel, representatives and facilities of the global coalition against Daesh is unacceptable. The perpetrators of this attack must be held accountable,” he said in a statement.

bh/ha (AP, AFP, Reuters)

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