No casualties reported after several projectiles hit consular building in Irbil; attack comes several days after Iran vowed revenge for Israeli strike in Syria

Illustrative: US Marines guard the Baghdad Embassy Compound in Iraq, Jan. 5, 2020. (US Marine Corps/Sgt. Kyle C. Talbot)
Illustrative: US Marines guard the Baghdad Embassy Compound in Iraq, Jan. 5, 2020. (US Marine Corps/Sgt. Kyle C. Talbot)


At least six missiles were fired Sunday toward the US consulate in Iraq’s northern city of Irbil, with several missiles hitting the building, Iraqi and US security officials said.

A US official said the missiles were launched from neighboring Iran.

Officials in Iraq and the US gave different accounts of damage. A second US official said there was no damage and no casualties at any US government facility, but Iraqi officials said several missiles had hit the US consulate. The consulate building is new and currently unoccupied.

Later, Lawk Ghafari, the head of Kurdistan’s foreign media office, said none of the missiles hit the US facility but that areas around the compound had been hit by the missiles.

One US official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because information was still coming in, said it was still not certain exactly how many missiles were fired and exactly where they landed.

The area’s governor said it was not clear whether the intended target was the US consulate or the airport, where there is a base for the US-led coalition fighting the Islamic State group.

The airport said it had suffered no damage and flights had not been disrupted.

An AFP correspondent in the city heard three explosions.

Irbil is the capital of the autonomous Kurdistan region of Iraq.

“We condemn this terrorist attack launched against several sectors of Irbil, we call on the inhabitants to remain calm,” Kurdistan Prime Minister Masrour Barzani said in a statement.

The Iraqi security officials said there were no immediate reports of casualties from the attack, which occurred shortly after midnight and caused material damage in the area. They spoke on condition of anonymity in line with regulations.

One of the officials said the ballistic missiles were fired from Iran, without elaborating.

The attack comes several days after Syrian state media reported an Israeli strike near Damascus, Syria. The reports said the airstrike killed two members of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard. Iran’s foreign ministry strongly condemned the attack Wednesday and vowed revenge.

On Sunday, Iran’s state-run IRNA news agency quoted Iraqi media acknowledging the attacks in Irbil, without saying where they originated.

Satellite broadcast channel Kurdistan24, which is located near the US consulate, went on air from their studio shortly after the attack, showing shattered glass and debris on their studio floor.

A security statement said Irbil was targeted “with a number of missiles” early Sunday, adding that security forces were investigating the incident and would release more details later.

The attack comes as negotiations in Vienna over Tehran’s tattered nuclear deal hit a “pause” over Russian demands about sanctions targeting Moscow over its war on Ukraine.

US interests and coalition troops in Iraq have regularly been targeted in rocket and armed drone attacks.

Western officials have blamed hard-line pro-Iran factions for the attacks, which have never been claimed.

In late January, six rockets were fired at Baghdad International Airport, causing no casualties.

Iraq saw a surge in these sort of attacks at the beginning of the year as Iran and its allies commemorated the second anniversary of the death of Iranian general Qassem Soleimani and his Iraqi lieutenant Abu Mehdi al-Mouhandis, killed by American drone fire in Iraq in January 2020.

As reported by The Times of Israel