ARBIL: An explosives-packed drone slammed into Iraq’s Arbil airport on Wednesday — the first reported use of such a weapon against a base used by US-led troops in the country.

There were no casualties in the strike on the capital of northern Iraq’s autonomous Kurdish region, although it did cause damage to a building in the military part of the airport.

It comes after 20 bomb and rocket attacks blamed on pro-Iran armed groups against facilities used by coalition troops or diplomats in Iraq since US President Joe Biden took office in January.

The attacks have mostly been claimed by shadowy armed groups aligned with Iran who are demanding the Biden administration set a pullout date for Iraq as it has for Afghanistan.

“A drone packed with TNT targeted a coalition base at Arbil airport,” the Kurdish region’s interior ministry said.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack, which caused an explosion heard across Arbil.

But a shadowy pro-Iranian group calling itself Awliyaa al Dam (Guardians of Blood), which claimed a previous attack on the same airport in February, hailed the strike on the messaging app Telegram.

In the February attack, more than a dozen rockets targeted the military complex inside the airport, killing an Iraqi civilian and a foreign contractor working with US-led troops.

Washington, which has promised to withdraw the troops it deployed in support of Baghdad’s successful fightback against the militant Islamic State group but has resisted setting a date, said it was “outraged” by the latest violence.

“The Iraqi people have suffered for far too long from this kind of violence and violation of their sovereignty,” State Department spokesman Ned Price tweeted.

Published in Dawn, April 16th, 2021

Opinion

Is it child abuse?
24 Sep 2021

Is it child abuse?

The SNC’s language mix doesn’t address our children’s emotional needs.
The gathering storm
Updated 24 Sep 2021

The gathering storm

The growing US-China rivalry has transformed the geopolitical scene, in particular the Asian strategic landscape.
New realities and challenges
Updated 23 Sep 2021

New realities and challenges

Will the Afghan Taliban entrust to the UN the responsibility of receiving and disbursing all aid?

Editorial

24 Sep 2021

Costs of growth

IS Pakistan’s growth party over? Not yet. But both the State Bank and government are now cutting down on the items...
Smear campaign
Updated 24 Sep 2021

Smear campaign

It is commendable that the government has taken the matter as seriously as it has, and delved deep into cyber investigations.
24 Sep 2021

Rising dengue cases

THE dengue monster is once again rearing its head in different cities of Punjab. More than 820 cases have surfaced ...
Dialogue, at last
Updated 23 Sep 2021

Dialogue, at last

The govt has attempted to make the ECP controversial at a time when its input is critical for the poll reforms
AUKUS controversy
Updated 23 Sep 2021

AUKUS controversy

Instead of flexing its military muscle, the Western bloc needs to engage China at the negotiating table.
Provocative act
Updated 23 Sep 2021

Provocative act

Afghan Taliban flags have been found hoisted at Jamia Hafsa seminary three times since Aug 21.