Erbil International Airport in Iraqi Kurdistan

Iran-Backed Militia Targets US Facility Near Erbil Airport

Thursday, 01/11/2024

Defense systems above Erbil airport neutralized an armed drone targeting US facilities launched by the Islamic Resistance in Iraq, an alliance of Iran-aligned Iraqi militias.

Iraqi Kurdistan's counter-terrorism service reported the news on Wednesday. The airport houses international forces, including the United States. The official statement did not disclose any information regarding potential casualties or damage to infrastructure resulting from the thwarted attack.

Tensions in the region have been escalating since the start of the Gaza war, sparked by Iran-backed Hamas's invasion of Israel on October 7. US officials documented over 100 attacks on American interests in Iraq, Syria and the Red Sea. The Islamic Resistance in Iraq attributes the actions to their opposition against Washington's support for Israel during the Gaza conflict.

Iran had refrained from attacking US bases for nearly a year leading up to the October 7th invasion by Hamas. During this time, confidential discussions between Tehran and Washington took place, aiming to release billions of dollars in blocked Iranian funds. In an effort to de-escalate tensions, the Biden administration agreed to release at least $8.7 billion held in South Korea and Iraq since June, along with securing the release of five American hostages held by Iran.

However, the Gaza war has triggered action from Iran's proxies around the region. Iran, a supporter of Hamas, issued a warning to the United States, threatening potential threats to US interests if attacks on Gaza persist.

Iran-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen have also declared their intention to target both US and Israeli interests in the Red Sea, prompting the formation of a more than 20-nation coalition by the United States to address these threats. Despite the initiative, the Biden administration is facing increasing criticism for its perceived inability to deter Iran and its affiliated groups in the Middle East.

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