Iran has claimed responsibility for the missile barrage that targeted the Kurdish capital of Erbil last night, claiming that the strikes targeted two “Israeli spy centers” and were in retaliation against Isareli airstrikes in Syria earlier this week that killed two IRGC officers. The strikes, consisting of about a dozen Fateh-110 ballistic missiles, began around 0105 local time, landing in residential areas in the vicinity of the new United States Consulate complex. The State Department confirmed that no American installations were damaged despite earlier beliefs, nor were there any American casualties. It further added that the US has “no indications” that the consulate was the intended target of the strikes. Several surrounding buildings in the area were damaged, however, including Kurdistan24’s main broadcasting office and the home of Baz Karim, president of the regional gas and oil giant KAR Group. While there was heavy property damage in the area of the strikes, there were no civilian casualties, according to the Kurdistan Health Ministry.The attack was condemned by both Iraq and the United States. Iraq’s Foreign Ministry told the Associated Press that it has summoned the Iranian ambassador over the attack, further calling it a “violation of internal law and norms.”
— Bashar Azeez (@bashargwani) March 12, 2022
The missiles are believed to have been launched from an Iranian military base in Khasabad, which sits in the country’s East Azerbaijan Province. Footage posted to twitter last night showing missile launches had been geolocated in an area just south of the Tabriz Missile Base. “Fateh-110” is somewhat an umbrella term for various variations of the mobile-launched missile. It remains unclear which exact type of Fateh-110 was used in the attacks, however, they are likely the same ones used to attack American military installation in Iraq back in 2020 following the assassination of IRGC Major General Qassem Soleimani.
— Aleph ? ?? (@no_itsmyturn) March 12, 2022
As for the attack itself, it is somewhat out of place. The last time Iran directly attacked American forces in Iraq was in January 2020 in response to Soleimani’s death. For the past two years, Iranian-backed Shia militias of the Popular Mobilization Forces (PMU) have carried out frequent rocket or explosive laden drone attacks against Baghdad’s Green Zone or other American military installations in Erbil. Iran-backed militias have also routinely carried out attacks in Iraq against American targets in retaliation for Israeli air strikes in the past. Kurdish officials have consistently denied any presence of Israeli intelligence or military in the region. The attack allows for Iran to make it seem, for the most part to itself, that it is attacking Israeli military and intelligence targets without directly attacking Israel. Iran considers the US and Israel as one and the same as far as enemies go and attacking Iraq often doesn’t see any retaliatory measures.