Iran-backed militias launched rockets targeting US troops that landed near Erbil airport in the semi-autonomous Kurdistan Region of Iraq, a Kurdish security agency said on Wednesday. Observers dubbed the attack as the most serious escalation in the last months.
Iraqi Kurdistan's counterterrorism service blamed the attack on the Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF), an umbrella grouping of mostly Iran-backed Iraqi Shiite militias.
"Six rockets were launched from the borders of the Sheikh Amir village in Nineveh province by the PMF that were targeting (US-led) coalition forces in Erbil International Airport," the service said.
Four rockets landed at the edge of the airport compound and two did not explode, it added in a statement.
Public and government fury enflamed by the arbitrary shelling carried out by Iran-aligned armed factions in Baghdad did not curb the attacks. Militias continue their illegitimate targeting of multiple locations in Iraq.
Authorities in Baghdad proved unable to deter the threat posed by the militias whose attacks have stepped up since last August.
Security sources confirmed that Iran-backed factions carried out at least 100 operations that included the firing of Katyusha rockets on the Green Zone and army camps. These factions have also targeted international coalition convoys with explosive devices.
There is, however, a consensus among Iraq’s powerful Shiite political forces on rejecting and denouncing such hostilities which place the country’s security and international ties on the line.
Many Shiite parties, including the Fatah Alliance which offers an umbrella to popular factions linked to Tehran, have collectively denounced the attacks following Washington’s announcement that it could close its embassy in Baghdad.
Despite no faction claiming the attacks carried out against diplomatic missions in Baghdad, it is widely predicted that those hits were staged by groups ideologically aligned with Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei.
Iraqi factions close to Iran have adopted an agenda centered on driving US presence outside the country.
In their latest attack on Wednesday, the outlawed groups have targeted a civilian four-wheel drive vehicle en route to the Green Zone in central Baghdad. Although damage was incurred, no human injuries were recorded.
“A roadside bomb hit a civilian vehicle at Baghdad International Airport,” the Iraqi Security Media Cell reported.
Convoys driven by Iraqis and contracted by the coalition have come under almost daily attacks in recent months at the hands of pro-Iranian Shiite militias. Baghdad airport is also frequently targeted, as it hosts a coalition base.
The US Embassy and Iraqi military bases hosting coalition troops have been repeatedly targeted as well.
Iraqi people view those attacks as overt acts of terror that are no less dangerous and ferocious than the actions of terrorist groups linked to ISIS.