On September 30 six rockets were fired from the Nineveh plains towards Erbil, the capital of the autonomous Kurdistan Regional Government. The rocket fire was unprecedented and the munitions impacted near the international airport, which is used by commercial flights and the US-led coalition.
The rocket fire comes in the wake of dozens of similar, but smaller, rocket and improvised explosive device attacks on facilities linked to the coalition and the United States presence in Iraq. Pro-Iranian political parties have called for the US to leave Iraq. Tensions have grown in the last year and the US has handed over eight facilities to full Iraqi control as part of a consolidation of forces. Days before the rocket attack, on September 27, Washington had warned Baghdad it could close its embassy of similar rocket attacks continued. The US would still have a consulate and facilities in the Kurdistan region. The rocket attack appears to be a message to the US that its facilities at the airport can be targeted, and a message to the Kurdistan region that its capital can be destabilized.
Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) Prime Minister Masrour Barzani demanded Baghdad hold the perpetrators responsible. “I have spoken to PM Mustafa al-Kadhimi on the importance of holding the perpetrators accountable…”
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