A number of missiles were fired towards the US consulate in Erbil, the capital of Kurdistan Region in northwestern Iraq on Saturday night, according to the Iraqi News Agency (INA), and the building appears to be on fire, as seen in the photo above.
Heavy explosions have hit the US consulate and reports suggest the missiles were launched from Iranian territory, following the interruption of nuclear talks.
A Pentagon spokesperson told Newsweek that the Defense Department was “looking into the reported attack near Erbil,” but did not provide any details.
Multiple rockets have reportedly smashed into a US Army base and a Kurdish news channel office in the area.
The European Union stalled the ongoing discussion about the revival of the 2015 Iranian nuclear deal just days after confirming that the final draft of an agreement is almost ready.
Those unconfirmed reports indicate the attacks involved Fateh-110 ballistic missiles launched from Iran, not smaller rockets or artillery shells used in numerous previous attacks against U.S. installations in Iraq.
The Fateh-110 is a short-range, road-mobile, solid-propellant ballistic missile that is used in Iran, by made from components manufactured by Chinese contractors.
Iran is an ally of Russia, and some have suggested the missile attack has opened more than one front in what has been the largest land war in Europe since the defeat of Nazi Germany in World War II.
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.
Videos shared on social media reportedly from the scene showed multiple large explosions in the area.
According to INA, five explosions were heard in the attack. Pentagon officials say no reports of casualties so far in the missile attack on the US base in Erbil.
The health minister of Kurdistan stated that there were no injuries or deaths reported in the attack on Saturday night.
“Multiple rockets or ballistic missile strikes reported on US airbase in northern Iraq, near Erbil. We’re looking into these reports,” said journalist Donald Standeford. “This may have been what the EAM messages we were hearing were about.”
The American consulate in Erbil serves the four provinces of the Kurdistan Region of Iraq: Erbil, Sulaimaniya, Duhok and Halabja.
Robert Palladino assumed charge of U.S. Consulate General Erbil in July 2021.
A career diplomat, Palladino has worked on key foreign policy and national security challenges across Asia, Europe, and the Middle East.
Independent open-source intelligence (OSINT) accounts shared videos reportedly shared by Iranian civilians showing missiles being fired from Iran at the time of the attack, with at least one of the videos being geolocated to a site in Khasabad, a village in the East Azerbaijan province of Iran.
Following the death of two advisors in Syria that the Iranian regime blamed on Israel, Iran’s permanent mission to the United Nations said the Islamic Republic has a right to defend itself.
“The Islamic Republic of Iran reserves its inherent right to self-defense, under Article 51 of the United Nations Charter, to respond to such criminal act whenever it deems appropriate,” the mission wrote in letters to the UN secretary general and the world body’s Security Council on Thursday.
Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) identified the two dead Iranians as Colonel Ehsan Karbalayi-Poor and Colonel Morteza Saeed-Nezhad, who were killed in a missile attack on the outskirts of the Syrian capital Damascus on Monday.
Israel did not comment on the attack and rarely acknowledges such operations but it has launched hundreds of strikes on targets inside government-controlled parts of Syria in the past.
The UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR), a monitoring group, said the missiles hit “a weapons and ammunition depot operated by Iran-backed militias near the Damascus International Airport”.
The group, which relies on an extensive network of sources inside Syria, said it could not confirm civilian deaths.
According to SOHR, Israel has carried out raids in Syria at least seven times since the start of the year.
Mohammad Bagheri, chief of staff of the Iranian Armed Forces, also recently referred to the base in Erbil and said that his country would not accept the presence of US troops so close to its borders.
Iran maintains an advisory mission in Syria at the request of President Bashar al-Assad with the aim of helping it get rid of the foreign-backed militants who have been fighting the Syrian government since 2011.
Back in 2017, Iran helped Syria defeat the terrorist group known as ISIS or Daesh, with Russian involvement as well.
In a speech saying that “the confrontation between NATO and Russia will be a third world war, and we are working to avoid that,” President Joe Biden announced the suspension of trade relations with Russia and added: “We will not allow Putin to decide the fate of the world through war, and we will ensure that Ukraine is supplied with weapons.”