ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – At least four rockets have landed in the vicinity of Gazna village, northeast of Erbil, near the Kurdistan Region capital’s airport. A fire has broken out in an open field at the scene of the explosions.
The Kurdistan Regional Government’s (KRG) Directorate General of Counter Terrorism (CTD) says that six rockets were launched toward Erbil International Airport from Sheikh Amir village in Nineveh province by Hashd al-Shaabi militants, but did not reach the airport, according to a statement from the body.
“Two of the rockets did not explode and fortunately they did not cause any casualties,” reads the statement.
The KRG’s interior ministry said in a statement late Wednesday that six rockets were launched between Sheikh Amir and Tarjla villages in Bartella.
“This area is controlled by Hashd al-Shaabi’s 30th Brigade. Our special teams are seriously investigating in order to obtain more information.”
Gazna is the site of a Democratic Party of Iranian Kurdistan (KDPI) base, a Kurdish opposition group to Tehran. A senior KDPI official told Rudaw English that his group has not sustained any casualties. The group later tweeted officially confirming that a rocket landed near their headquarters.
International targets have been a site of frequent bombardment by rogue armed groups in central and southern Iraq, but recent attacks had not reached the Kurdistan Region until Wednesday.
Washington has signaled it could close its diplomatic mission in Baghdad if measures are not taken to put a stop to the attacks.
An order has been issued to detain the head of the security unit responsible for Hamdaniya district in Nineveh province, where the rockets were launched from, according to a Iraqi Joint Operations Command statement published on Telegram.
A US official says Coalition forces, who are located at Erbil International Airport, were alerted to the explosion and told to take cover. The C-RAM missile defence system did not activate, and there is no damage to the airport, added the official.
LATEST: Kurdistan Region’s counter-terrorism says that six rockets were launched toward Erbil International Airport from Sheikh Amir village in Nineveh province by Hashd al-Shaabi militants, but did not reach the airport, according to a statement from the body. pic.twitter.com/O7k6DeQ5TI — Rudaw English (@RudawEnglish) September 30, 2020
Ahmed Hoshyar Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Erbil International Airport confirms the explosions did not take place inside the airport compound.
Operation Inherent Resolve Spokesman Col. Wayne Marotto tweeted late Wednesday that the attacks did not hit Coalition forces.
Initial reports that Indirect Fire did not land on Coalition Forces in Erbil tonight. There was no damage or casualties. Incident is under investigation. — OIR Spokesman Col. Wayne Marotto (@OIRSpox) September 30, 2020
The KRG interior ministry strongly condemned the “cowardly terrorist attack,” saying they are prepared to respond.
“We call on the federal government to take necessary action,” added the statement.
Iraq’s Hashd al-Shaabi, also known as the Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF), is a predominantly Shiite paramilitary network.
Reporting by Lawk Ghafuri, Karwan Faidhi Dri, and Yasmine Mosimann