Iran claims responsibility for missile barrage in Iraq
Iran has claimed responsibility for a missile barrage that struck near a sprawling US consulate complex in the northern Iraqi city of Irbil, saying it was retaliation for an Israeli strike in Syria that killed two members of its Revolutionary Guard.
No injuries were reported in the attack, which marked a significant escalation between the US and Iran.
Hostility between the long-time foes has often played out in Iraq, whose government is allied with both countries.
Iran’s powerful Revolutionary Guard said on its website that it launched the attack against an Israeli “strategic centre of conspiracy” in Irbil.
A US official said in a statement the US condemned what it called an “outrageous attack against Iraqi sovereignty and display of violence.”
Earlier, a US defence official and Iraqi security officials said the strike was launched from neighbouring Iran.
The US defence official said it was still uncertain exactly how many missiles were fired and exactly where they landed.
A second US official said there was no damage at any US government facility and that there was no indication the target was the consulate building, which is new and currently unoccupied.
The attack came several days after Iran said it would retaliate for an Israeli strike near Damascus, Syria, that killed two members of its Revolutionary Guard.
The missile barrage coincided with regional tensions.
Negotiations in Vienna over Tehran’s tattered nuclear deal hit a “pause” over Russian demands about sanctions targeting Moscow for its war on Ukraine.
Meanwhile, Iran suspended its secret Baghdad-brokered talks aimed at defusing long-standing tensions with regional rival Saudi Arabia, after Saudi Arabia carried out its largest known mass execution in its modern history with more than three dozens Shiites killed.
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