Rocket attack in Iraq kills US contractor, injures others

The attack is an early test for the Biden administration.

By World Israel News Staff

A rocket attack in northern Iraq on Sunday targeting U.S. forces killed a military contractor, injured a U.S. soldier and wounded five other contractors.

“Initial report that indirect fire landed on coalition forces in Erbil tonight,” Col. Wayne Morotto, spokesman for the U.S.-led military coalition, tweeted after the attack.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken said, “We are outraged by today’s rocket attack in the Iraqi Kurdistan Region.”

“We express our condolences to the loved ones of the civilian contractor killed in this attack, and to the innocent Iraqi people and their families who are suffering these ruthless acts of violence,” Blinken said.

“The development represents an early test for President Biden in his role as commander in chief. Similar attacks in 2019 and 2020 led then-President Trump to order retaliatory airstrikes against the Iranian-backed militia group U.S. officials said was responsible,” the Wall Street Journal reports.

A newly established group called Saraya Awliya al-Dam claimed responsibility for the attack on a website belonging to Shiite militias. It claimed that it fired 24 rockets seven kilometers away from the U.S.-controlled al-Tahrir military base, Iranian Press TV reports.

It said it would continue to attack U.S. forces in revenge for the killing of Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Commander Qassem Soleimani and Iran-backed Kataib Hezbollah militia leader Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis. They were killed in a U.S. drone strike on Jan. 3, 2020.

The U.S. forces in Iraq have been attacked sporadically but this was the deadliest attack in almost a year. In December 2020, 21 missiles were fired by Iran-backed militias at the U.S. embassy in Iraq. The killing of Soleimani followed shortly afterward.