Three reported hurt as drone strikes near UAE consulate in Iraq’s Kurdistan

Explosion occurs on road near Erbil some 3 kilometers from where US is building new mission; no claim of responsibility

Screen capture from video of a car damaged in a drone attack in Erbil, Kurdish Iraq, June 8, 2022. (Twitter)
Screen capture from video of a car damaged in a drone attack in Erbil, Kurdish Iraq, June 8, 2022. (Twitter)

Three people were injured in a mysterious drone strike outside the Kurdish Iraqi capital of Erbil Wednesday evening, a security source said.

The explosion of the kamikaze drone occurred on a road leading from Erbil toward the northeast, the Kurdistan Autonomous Counter-Terrorism Agency said in a statement. It said three people were injured and “several vehicles were damaged.”

It was not immediately clear what the target of the attack was. The strike was not immediately claimed by any group, but the method was suggestive of other attacks by pro-Iran militias.

The consulate of the United Arab Emirates is a few hundred meters from the scene of the attack, which was also about three kilometers (two miles) from a construction site where the new US consulate is set to open next year.

Videos shared on social media purporting to be from the aftermath of the attack showed damaged vehicles on a road.

Several attacks have taken place in recent months in Erbil and in the autonomous region of Kurdistan.

The most significant occurred in March, when Iran’s Revolutionary Guards claimed to have targeted an Israeli “strategic center” in Erbil, firing twelve ballistic missiles at a villa belonging to an oil executive accused of doing business with Israel. Authorities in Iraqi Kurdistan deny any Israeli presence on their soil, and Baghdad recently passed a law the places the death penalty on the crime of doing business with Israel.

In April, Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi warned neighboring Iraq not to allow its soil to be used for activities that disrupt the Islamic Republic’s security, his office said at the time.

Drones have been used repeatedly to attack oil refineries, airports and other strategic sites in Iraqi Kurdistan, Saudi Arabia and the UAE. Militias backed by Iran in Yemen and Iraq have been blamed for the attacks.

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