Baghdad, Feb 16 (IANS) A civilian contractor was killed and six others including a soldier were wounded in a rocket attack that targeted Erbil airport, which houses a US-led coalition military base, in the semi-autonomous region of Kurdistan in northern Iraq, the US military said.
Col. Wayne Marotto, Spokesman of CJTF-OIR (Combined Joint Task Force – Operation Inherent Resolve), said in a brief tweet that initial reports stated “indirect fire landed on coalition forces in Erbil tonight (Monday). There was 1 civilian contractor killed, 5 civilian contractors injured, and 1 US service member injured”, Xinhua news agency reported.
Marotto did not give further details about the nationality of the civilian contractors but said that more information to follow.
Marotto’s tweet came hours after unidentified militants fired rockets in the evening at Erbil airport and near it, according to Kurdish security sources.
According to the US military statements, indirect fire refers to rocket and mortar shells.
The regional Ministry of Interior said in a brief statement that several rockets were fired at 9.30 p.m. (Monday night) on several areas in Erbil, injuring several civilians.
Another statement by the media office of Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi, also Commander-in-Chief of the Iraqi forces, said that al-Kadhimi ordered a joint investigation with the Kurdish regional authorities over the rocket attack.
Earlier in the night, a brief statement issued by the regional Counter-Terrorism Service said that three rockets were fired on Erbil, Two of them landed in Erbil airport, and the third landed outside.
A security source anonymously pointed out the third rocket struck the fence of the residential complex of Naz City near the airport, wounding two people and damaging several nearby shops.
The Kurdish region in northern Iraq has been relatively peaceful, but such attacks have frequently targeted Baghdad airport and Iraqi military bases housing US troops, as well as the US embassy in the Green Zone with mortar and rocket attacks.