Iran Claims Responsibility For Attacking 'Israeli Strategic Center' In Iraq

Update (03.13.2022 1158ET): Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) has claimed responsibility for a missile strike on what it called an Israeli "strategic center" located in the Kurdish capital of Erbil, located in northern Iraq, according to Bloomberg, citing the Revolutionary Guard's official news portal, Sepah News.

The semi-official Tasnim news agency, which is closely aligned to the IRGC, said 10 precision-guided missiles were fired from northwestern Iran, citing an informed source that it didn’t name. The report added that the strike “very likely” resulted in “many casualties” without providing any details. -Bloomberg

Nobody was hurt or killed in the attack, according to US Deputy Secretary of State, Wendy Sherman, denying earlier reports that the US consulate was the target and had been hit. Sherman told Fox News that the incident was of "great concern to all of us," and amounted to attacking Iraq's sovereignty.

As we noted last night, the attack comes days after Iran vowed revenge for an Israeli missile attack near Damascus, Syria which killed two IRGC members. According to a Sunday statement by Sepah, there will be a "severe and destructive response" to any future attacks from Israel.

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Update (2130ET): Initial reports that missiles 'struck' the US Embassy in Erbil, Iraq have been downgraded.

A dozen ballistic missiles launched from outside the country did hit the northern Kurdish regional capital on Sunday - however there were no casualties, and no parties have claimed responsibility.

According to Reuters, a US State Department spokesperson called it an "outrageous attack," however no Americans were hurt - nor was there any damage to US government facilities in Erbil.

U.S. forces stationed at Erbil's international airport complex have in the past come under fire from rocket and drone attacks that U.S. officials blame on Iran-aligned militia groups, but no such attacks have occurred for several months. -Reuters

Kurdish officials did not reveal where the missiles struck - however a spokesperson for regional authorities said there were no flight interruptions at Erbil airport, according to the report.

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The US consulate in Erbil, Iraq has been hit with multiple missiles, which has been attributed to Iran in early, yet unconfirmed reports. Sky News Arabia reports that the consulate, located in Kurdistan, was hit. No casualties have been reported, a US official told Reuters.

According to BBC journalist Shabnam Shabani, "The governor of Erbil, Omed Khoshnaw, stated that multiple missiles fell in the area, saying it was unclear whether the target was the US consulate or the airport in the city. According to INA, five explosions were heard in the attack."

Another journalist, José Miguel Sardo, reports that the Kurdistan News Channel appears to have also been targeted.

The governor of Erbil, Omed Khoshnaw, stated that multiple missiles fell in the area, saying it was unclear whether the target was the US consulate or the airport in the city. According to INA, five explosions were heard in the attack. -Jerusalem Post

On Friday we noted that the Iran nuclear talks had been abruptly suspended. As the WSJ wrote at the time; "The Iran nuclear talks broke off Friday with no agreement, imperiling negotiations... After weeks of round-the-clock negotiations in Vienna, the breakoff in talks significantly raises the prospect that efforts to revive the 2015 nuclear deal may fail."

And then there's this;

If early reports are confirmed and Iran indeed attacked the US Consulate, we think it's safe to assume the talks are over. Needless to say, oil is going to have an interesting day on Monday.

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Several missiles were fired at dawn on Sunday at Arbil, the capital of autonomous Kurdistan in northern Iraq, local authorities reported, adding there were no injuries.

“Several missiles fell on the city of Arbil,” said governor Omid Khoshnaw, quoted by the Iraqi news agency INA.

The governor said it was not clear whether the intended target was the US consulate or the airport, where there is a base for the US-led coalition fighting the Islamic State group.

An AFP correspondent in Arbil heard three explosions.

Local television channel Kurdistan24, whose studios are not far from the US consulate, posted images on social networks of its damaged offices, with collapsed sections of false ceiling and broken glass.

The health ministry in Arbil said there had been no casualties.

The airport said it had suffered no damage and flights had not been disrupted.

“We condemn this terrorist attack launched against several sectors of Arbil, we call on the inhabitants to remain calm,” Kurdistan Prime Minister Masrour Barzani said in a statement.

US interests and coalition troops in Iraq have regularly been targeted in rocket and armed drone attacks.

Western officials have blamed hard-line pro-Iran factions for the attacks, which have never been claimed.

In late January, six rockets were fired at Baghdad International Airport, causing no casualties.

Iraq saw a surge in these sort of attacks at the beginning of the year as Iran and its allies commemorated the second anniversary of the death of Iranian general Qassem Soleimani and his Iraqi lieutenant Abu Mehdi al-Mouhandis, killed by American drone fire in Iraq in January 2020.

Agence France-Presse (AFP) is a French state-owned international news agency based in Paris. It is the world's oldest news agency, having been founded in 1835 as Havas.

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