Drone Attack Targets US Forces at Erbil Airport; Pro-Iranian Forces in Iraq Under Lens

A drone attack hit near U.S. forces stationed at Erbil International Airport in northern Iraq on Saturday, Iraqi Kurdish security officials said. The comes on the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 terror attacks in the United States.

The airport serves as the base for United States-led coalition forces. The internal security service for Iraq's autonomous Kurdish region, of which Erbil is the capital, initially said three rockets had hit near the airport, according to Reuters.

A second statement by the Kurdish counter-terrorism force said the attack had been carried out by explosive-laden drones. "There are no victims in the attack carried out by two armed drones," the statement read.

Warning sirens have gone off near the airport, as well as around the US Consulate in Erbil, witnesses have said, according to Middle East Eye. An AFP correspondent heard two loud blasts and saw black smoke rising up into the sky and heard sirens around the US consulate.

No Casualties Have Been Reported and Investigation Is Going On

Lawk Ghafuri, head of foreign media relations for the Kurdistan Regional Government, said on Twitter that Kurdish security forces were investigating the incident.

"The drone was carrying explosive devices, and exploded away from Erbil International Airport's terminals and territories. No casualties are reported," Ghafuri said.

The airport suffered no damage, according to its director Ahmed Hochiar.

Erbil airport
Local security forces are imposing tight security measures and are blocking off traffic to Erbil airport Twitter

Pro-Iranian Forces in Iraq Behind the Attack?

No group has taken responsibility for the attack, but Washington has blamed similar attacks on Iran-backed militias.

Attacks of this kind, normally targeting US troops or US interests in Iraq, have become common in recent months.

The Erbil International Airport was hit by attacks carried out with unmanned aerial drones in April and in July. The July airport attack came a day after the Ain al-Asad air base, which houses US troops and the US Embassy in Baghdad, was hit with rockets.

Last week, 13 Iraqi police officers were killed in an Islamic State (IS) group attack against a checkpoint in the country's north, around 65 kilometers south of Kirkuk, reported, Middle East Eye.

U.S. officials blame previous attacks on Iran-aligned Shi'ite Muslim militias which have vowed to fight until the remaining 2,500 U.S. military personnel leave the country.

The U.S. forces are leading an international military coalition whose mandate is to help Iraqi forces fight remnants of the Sunni extremist Islamic State group. The coalition did not immediately comment on Saturday's incident, according to Reuters.