First ever drone attack on US base in northern Iraq

Iran-backed militias have called for the U.S. and Turkey to withdraw their troops from Iraq.

By Lauren Marcus, World Israel News

An unmanned drone dropped explosives targeting U.S. troops stationed at Erbil Airport in northern Iraq on Wednesday, Kurdish security officials said.

The incident marks the first known drone attack on U.S. forces in the region.

The U.S. Embassy in Baghdad and troops at bases throughout Iraq were recently hit by rocket fire, in what appears to be a Iran-backed campaign that’s steadily ramping up.

According to a statement from the Kurdistan regional governments interior ministry, the drone dropped TNT near U.S. forces. No casualties were reported.

In February 2021, a rocket attack at Erbil Airport killed a non-American contractor who’d been retained by the U.S. military.

Arabic language media reported that the attack triggered a warning siren at the U.S. consulate in Erbil. Explosions were heard shortly afterwards.

Just before the attack on Erbil Airport, a rocket attack killed a Turkish soldier stationed at a base west of the city, the Turkish government said.

Both Turkey and the U.S. maintain a presence in the region. Turkish troops in Iraq serve as part of a NATO contingent, and also as a detrimental force aimed at containing Kurdish separatists in the north of the country.

Iran-backed militias have called for the U.S. and Turkey to withdraw their troops from Iraq.

“Outraged by reports of attacks in the Iraqi Kurdistan Region,” State Department spokesperson Ned Price tweeted Thursday morning.

“The Iraqi people have suffered for far too long from this kind of violence and violation of their sovereignty.”

United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) head Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert echoed Price’s statements in a tweet.

“Last night’s events in the Kurdistan Region are another example of reckless attempts to inflame tensions and threaten Iraq’s stability,” she wrote.

“We condemn these acts of violence and urge the Federal [Iraqi] and Kurdistan governments to act swiftly and in unison to prevent further escalation.”