Iran claims missile barrage near US consulate in Iraq

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BAGHDAD — Iran claimed responsibility Sunday for a missile barrage that struck near a sprawling U.S. consulate complex in northern Iraq, saying it was retaliation for an Israeli strike in Syria that killed two members of its Revolutionary Guard earlier this week.

Iraq’s Foreign Ministry on Sunday summoned Iran’s ambassador to protest the attack, calling it a flagrant violation of the country’s sovereignty.

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. Iraq’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Ahmad al-Sahhaf said the ministry summoned the Iranian ambassador, Iraj Masjedi, to deliver the diplomatic protest.

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.

The source claimed the attack resulted in multiple casualties. There was no immediate comment from Israel on the allegations or the Iranian missile barrage.

An Iraqi official in Baghdad initially said several missiles had hit the U.S. consulate in Irbil, which is new and unoccupied, adding that it had been the intended target of the attack. Later, Lawk Ghafari, the head of Kurdistan’s foreign media office, said none of the missiles had struck the U.S. facility but that residential areas around the compound had been hit.

Following a Cabinet meeting, the Iraqi government in Baghdad reiterated its refusal to allow Iraq to be used to settle scores between other countries and said it has requested an explanation from the Iranian leadership.

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



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