Iraq rocket attack kills contractor, wounds U.S. service member

ERBIL – A missile attack on a US-led military base in Kurdish northern Iraq on Monday killed a civilian contractor and wounded five other people, including a US soldier, the US coalition in Iraq said.

It was the deadliest attack to hit US forces in Iraq for almost a year, where tensions escalated between US forces, their Iraqi and Kurdish allies on the one hand, and Iranian-focused militias on the other.

“We are outraged by today’s rocket attack in the Kurdistan region of Iraq,” said US Secretary of State Antony Blinken in a statement on Monday evening. “We extend our condolences to the relatives of the civilian contractor killed in this attack and the innocent Iraqi people and their families who are suffering from this ruthless violence. I have turned to the Prime Minister of the Kurdish regional government, Masrour Barzani, to inquire discuss the incident and pledge our support for all efforts to investigate and hold those responsible.

A coalition spokesman said on Twitter that the attack hit coalition forces in the Kurdish regional capital of Erbil.

According to Kurdish security forces, at least three rockets landed near Erbil international airport in the autonomous region late at night. Reuters reporters heard several loud explosions and saw a fire break out near the airport.

US troops occupy a military base next to the civil airport.

A statement from the Kurdish Interior Ministry said that a number of rockets were fired at Erbil and its surroundings at around 9:30 p.m. Local time and some people were wounded, but no further details were given.

The last fatal attack on the coalition in March last year killed a British and two American employees.

Abigail Williams contributed.

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