Erbil Airport in northern Iraq was reportedly attacked by a drone armed with explosives while hosting US troops, it has been reported.
The drone ‘came down outside Erbil Airport’ and started a fire, according to BBC correspondent Nafiseh Kohnavard. Reuters reported that the drone had been aimed at a U.S. base on the airport grounds.
It was previously reported that at least three drones and 20 rockets were used in the attack, though security sources have now said there were no rockets and just one drone used, Kohnavard reported.
Col. Wayne Marotto, spokesman for U.S. Operation Inherent Resolve, tweeted: ‘Initial report: At approx. 11:15 PM local time, one UAS impacted in vicinity of Erbil Air Base, Iraq.’
The abbreviation UAS typically stands for Unmanned Aircraft Systems, or a drone, indicating that the drone may have exploded upon impact.
He added: ‘At this time initial reports indicate no injuries, casualties or damage. We will update when we have further information.’
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Erbil Airport in Iraq was allegedly under ‘a massive rocket attack’ while hosting US troops, it has been reported
It was reported that at least three drones and 20 rockets were used in the attack and that a with a fire broke out at the site
Col. Wayne Marotto, spokesman for Operation Inherent Resolve, said initial reports indicated that there were no casualties after the attack
The attack occurred at the Erbil International Airport in Iraq, shown on this map
A U.S. Department of Defense spokesperson told Politico reporter Lara Seligman that the agency was ‘aware’ of reports of the attack.
‘We are aware of reporting of a UAS incident in the vicinity of Erbil, Iraq. At this time, initial reports indicate no structural damage, injuries or casualties,’ the spokesperson said.
A video allegedly released by Kurdistan Counter Terrorism Forces and posted to Twitter by the account Aurora Intel appears to show Erbil Airport after the attack.
The video shows flames billowing into the night sky while other videos posted posted to social media purport to show the airport going dark after the alleged rocket attack.
News outlet Rudaw tweeted: ‘The counterterrorism directorate said the airport was attacked by a drone around 10:30pm, with a fire breaking out at the site.’
No casualties have been reported, according to the news outlet.
The Rudaw Turkey account on Twitter also posted that the ‘small-scale fire that occurred after the attack on the airport was extinguished.’
Video posted by the same account to Twitter claims to show sirens being sounded at the US consulate in Erbil.
Erbil International Airport is pictured in February after flights restarted, following another rocket attack outside the international airport
In another video posted to Twitter, independent journalist Raveen Aujmaya tweeted that the airport had already reopened ‘after a brief closure following rocket attack.’
The Iraqi satellite television channel Dijlah reported that the airport’s director said air traffic wasn’t affected by the attack, according to the Twitter account @Archer83Able.
Despite reports indicating no injuries, Newsweek reported that a group which calls itself Saraya Awliya al-Dam issued a warning after the attack.
‘If the enemy does not admit its losses, we will tell him the number of Zionists who were killed in the Erbil operation tonight,’ the statement reads.
According to Newsweek, the Saraya Awliya al-Dam group ‘previously claimed attacks against U.S. positions in the area.’
The attack comes a day after rockets and a drone targeted Ain al-Asad air base, which houses U.S. troops, and the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad.
In April, a drone dropped explosives near the U.S. forces stationed at Erbil airport. That was the first known attack carried out by an unmanned aerial drone against U.S. forces in Erbil, amid a steady stream of rocket attacks on bases hosting U.S. forces and the embassy in Baghdad that Washington blames on Iran-backed militias.