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Explosives-laden drones target northern Iraq airport; no injuries

Irbil attack is the first in two months to target the US military presence in the country

Illustrative: A Kurdish flag hangs in the Irbil International Airport, in Iraq, September 27, 2017. (AP/Khalid Mohammed)
Illustrative: A Kurdish flag hangs in the Irbil International Airport, in Iraq, September 27, 2017. (AP/Khalid Mohammed)

BAGHDAD — Explosives-laden drones targeted Irbil international airport in northern Iraq late Saturday where US-led coalition troops are stationed with no reports of casualties, according to security forces and officials in Kurdish-run region.

Kurdistan’s Counter-Terrorism Service said at least two drones carrying explosives targeted the airport in a statement. It said the attack did not lead to any casualties.

Lawk Ghafuri, spokesman for the semi-autonomous northern region, said the explosives struck outside of the airport and dismissed reports the attack had impacted flights. He said the airport remained open and an investigation was ongoing by Kurdish authorities.

The attack is the first following a two month lull in drone and rocket attacks to target the US presence in Baghdad and military bases across Iraq. On July 8, rockets landed in and around the heavily fortified Green Zone in the Iraqi capital Baghdad, which houses the US Embassy. It caused material damage but no casualties.

Until recently the attacks were a frequent occurrence. The US has blamed Iran-backed militias for attacks. More recently, the attacks have become more sophisticated, with militants using drones instead of Katyusha rockets.

US forces will end their combat mission in Iraq by the end of this year, but will continue to train and advise the Iraqi military. There are currently 2,500 US troops in Iraq helping local forces counter what remains of the Islamic State group.

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