Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) claimed responsibility for the 12 missiles were fired from Iranian territory and fell near the US consulate in Erbil in northwestern Iraq on Saturday night.
IRGC) on Sunday morning, said the missiles were fired in response to the “recent crimes of the fake Zionist regime.”
“Following the recent crimes of the fake Zionist regime and the previous announcement that the crimes and evils of this infamous regime will not go unanswered; Last night, the ‘Strategic Center of Conspiracy and Evil of the Zionists’ was targeted by powerful and point-to-point missiles of the IRGC,” said the IRGC in a statement.
United States Ambassador to Iraq Matthew H. Tueller condemned the attack.
Iran has threatened retaliation in recent days for the deaths of two Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) officers in an alleged Israeli airstrike in Syria last week.
Iran-backed militias reportedly targeted the Al-Tanf base, where US forces are housed, in October in retaliation for alleged Israeli airstrikes which targeted Iranian-backed forces in Syria last year.
While initial reports indicated that the IRGC statement on Sunday was referring to the alleged Israeli airstrike, Iranian and pro-Iranian media reported that the attack was carried out in response to an alleged Israeli drone attack on an IRGC base in Mahidasht, Iran.
The reports added that the retaliation for the attack in Syria has not yet taken place.
In mid-February, a fire broke out at an IRGC drone base in Mahidasht. The IRGC said at the time that the cause of the fire was under investigation. Satellite imagery taken shortly afterwards by Planet satellite imaging company and shared by OSINT-account Aurora Intel showed a damaged structure at the base.
No injuries were reported in Sunday’s attack on the city of Irbil, which marked a significant escalation between the U.S. and Iran.
Hostility between the longtime foes has often played out in Iraq, whose government is allied with both countries.
The attack drew harsh condemnation from the Iraqi government, which called it a “violation of international law and norms” and demanded an explanation from the Iranian leadership.
The United States said the missile strike emanated from Iran and strongly condemned it.
“The strikes were an outrageous violation of Iraq’s sovereignty. No U.S. facilities were damaged or personnel injured, and we have no indications the attack was directed at the United States,” State Department spokesman Ned Price told reporters in Washington.
Iran’s powerful Revolutionary Guard said on its website that it attacked what it described as an Israeli spy center in Irbil. It did not elaborate, but in a statement said Israel had been on the offensive, citing the recent strike that killed two members of the Revolutionary Guard.
The semi-official Tasnim news agency quoted an unnamed source as saying Iran fired 10 Fateh missiles, including several Fateh-110 missiles, which have a range of about 186 miles.