Missile attacks that struck Iraq's northern Kurdish regional capital of Erbil in the early hours of Sunday were launched from Iran, a US official told Reuters.

In a major escalation of tensions in the Middle East, a dozen ballistic missiles struck Erbil at 1 am on Sunday, targeting the US consulate's new building and the neighboring residential area but caused only material damage and one civilian was injured, the Kurdish interior ministry said on Sunday.

An Iranian state-TV correspondent based in Iraq said that the missiles were aimed at "secret Israeli bases," a claim repeated by government-controlled media in Iran.

Fars News in Iran affiliated with the Revolutionary Guard (IRGC) reported the attack Sunday morning only quoting a pro-Iran news agency in Iraq saying that ballistic missiles hit “military targets” in Erbil.

Later on Sunday, Iran's Revolutionary Guard took responsibility for launching the attack.

Earlier in the week Iran vowed revenge for the death of two IRGC officers near Damascus Syria in what appeared to have been an Israeli air or missile attack.

There was no official claim of responsibility or further details available. A US State Department spokesperson called it an "outrageous attack" but said no Americans were hurt and there was no damage to US government facilities in Erbil.

The official government news agency IRNA also quoted Iraqi sources saying the attack targeted “advanced training centers of Israeli spying agencies.”

The attack also coincides with a “pause” in nuclear talks in Vienna. After 11 months of talks between Iran and world powers to revive the Obama-era nuclear agreement called JCPOA came to a halt after Russia made demanded that it be exempt from Ukraine sanctions in its dealings with Iran.

The attack on Erbil is expected to have a further negative impact on any chances of a nuclear agreement.

An Iranian website reflecting the views of the country's national security council announced Sunday that scheduled talks with Saudi Arabia have been "suspended".

US forces stationed at Erbil's international airport complex have in the past come under fire from rocket and drone attacks that US officials blame on Iran-aligned militia groups, but no such attacks have occurred for several months.

The last time ballistic missiles were directed at US forces was in January 2020 - an Iranian retaliation for the US killing earlier that month of its military commander Qasem Soleimani at Baghdad airport.

No US personnel were killed in the 2020 attack, but many suffered head injuries.

Iraq and neighboring Syria are regularly the scene of violence between the United States and Iran. Iran-backed Shi'ite Islamist militias have attacked U.S. forces in both countries and Washington has on occasion retaliated with air strikes.

Kurdish officials did not immediately say where the missiles struck. A spokesperson for the regional authorities said there were no flight interruptions at Erbil airport.

Residents of Erbil posted videos online showing several large explosions, and some said the blasts shook their homes.

Iraq has been rocked by chronic instability since the defeat of the Sunni Islamist group Islamic State in 2017 by a loose coalition of Iraqi, U.S.-led and Iran-backed forces.

Since then, Iran-aligned militias have regularly attacked US military and diplomatic sites in Iraq, US and many Iraqi officials say. Iran denies involvement in those attacks.

With reporting by Reuters

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