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'Attack' targets US airbase in Iraqi Kurdistan: Reports

A picture circulated after a reported "attack" against the United States’ airbase in the Iraqi Kurdistan’s capital Erbil, shows plumes of smoke billowing out of the facility.

The United States’ airbase in the northern Iraqi Kurdistan region’s capital Erbil has come under an "attack."

Iraq's Sabereen News television channel and Qatar’s Al Jazeera television network reported that explosions had rung out in the city on Wednesday night.

The Iraqi channel reported shortly afterwards that columns of smoke were being seen billowing from the base towards the sky.

It added that the roads leading to the US Consulate in the city and the Erbil International Airport had been shut down following the incident. Another Iraqi information network said the airport itself had also been shut down after the development.

Iraqi journalists confirmed that at least one rocket had landed inside the outpost. They also circulated footage of overflights above the city of a large number of aircraft that they identified as likely American drones.

Kurdistan’s interior ministry claimed that the incident had involved a “kamikaze drone.” It said the alleged attack had targeted a facility affiliated to the forces of the United States-led coalition that has been operating in Iraq since 2014 under the pretext of fighting the Takfiri terrorist group of Daesh.

Other footage showed that a fire had broken out at the airbase. Rocket alarms, meanwhile, went off at the American diplomatic mission.

Erbil’s Governor Omed Khoshnaw claimed that the incident had led to no human losses.

No person or group has yet claimed responsibility for the incident. The interior ministry has asked the relevant authorities to investigate the development and report back to Erbil.

The Kurdistan-based installation and the Ain al-Assad Airbase in the western Iraqi Anbar Province constitute the US’s main military outpost in Iraq.

The two facilities have repeatedly come under rocket fire in the past.

Western and regional officials and media outlets have been trying to stereotype the developments as “terrorist” incidents.

Many, however, consider the developments to be a response to the United States and its allies’ long-drawn-out military and political intervention in the country. They describe the response as a “natural” reaction to interventionism that arises from the depths of the Arab country’s grassroots and various political factions.

Last year, the Iraqi parliament voted overwhelmingly in favor of a law mandating withdrawal of all the US-led forces.

The legislation came only days after a US drone attack martyred senior Iranian and Iraqi anti-terror commanders, Lieutenant General Qassem Soleimani and Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, targeting their convoy.

Both commanders enjoyed immense domestic and regional reverence and acceptance, and their martyrdom was followed by massive protests and funeral processions both inside and outside Iran and Iraq’s borders.

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