A missile strike occurred near the U.S. consulate, northern Iraq. Regional official:

BAGHDAD — Sunday’s attack by ballistic missiles from Iran on northern Iraq was blamed for hitting several kilometers away from an American compound. The incident triggered sharp criticism from both the U.S. and Iraqi governments. capitals.

The semi-official Fars news agency stated that Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps launched “powerful missiles”, in response to what it called “recent crimes by the fake Zionist Regime.” This apparent reference is to last week’s killings in Syria which it blames on Israel.

The attack appeared to mark a significant escalation in proxy and political conflicts on Iraqi soil as talks between Iran and the United States over the future of a 2015 nuclear deal shattered by President Donald Trump now stall as a consequence of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Landing at 1: 30 a.m. local time, the strikes lit up the night sky and sent booms rolling through the Kurdish region’s capital, Irbil. Kurdish authorities said that they had counted 12 missiles, causing damage to buildings and cars, but no casualties. Officials said that

One was several kilometers away from the new sprawling U.S. Consulate compound, which is still under construction. Another landed close to the Kurdistan24 television news channel. Photographs showed that a newsroom had been damaged, and the studio was covered in broken glass. The U.S. State Department called the attack “outrageous” and issued harsh comments to Iraqi officials. Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi described the strikes as “an attack on the security of our people.” Masrour Barzani, the prime minister of Iraq’s Kurdistan region, said that it would “stand strong against cowardly attacks.”

But until Iran claimed the strikes itself, senior Iraqi officials refrained from citing the attacker by name, reflecting deep sensitivities over Iran’s role in Iraq, where its economic and political power are strong. The exact targets for Sunday’s missile attacks were not known. According to Iran’s statement, missiles were directed at locations linked with Israel’s intelligence service. Kurdish authorities denied that they existed, but published no photographs of any of the 12 blast sites. Erbil was the victim of a cowardly attack. The attackers claimed to have been targeting an Israeli consulate near Erbil. However, the civilian target was not a military base. This justification was used to conceal the motivations of the heinous crime,” the Kurdistan Regional Council of Ministers stated in a statement.

In a statement, a State Department official said no U.S. government buildings were damaged and no Americans hurt. The Pentagon asked questions of the State Department. They did not respond immediately.

According to an initial assessment by a top defense official who spoke under anonymity because it was a sensitive subject, no U.S. soldiers were hurt in the attacks on Irbil. Although U.S. combat troops have withdrawn from Iraq, some military and intelligence personnel still operate at a complex inside Irbil’s international airport. Sunday’s attack occurs at an important moment in Iraqi politics as well as in America’s relationship with Iran.

“What we are seeing is that it’s very difficult to insulate the negotiations over the nuclear deal from what is happening in Ukraine,” said Lahib Higel, a senior analyst for Crisis Group.

Disagreements between the United States and Iran probably contributed to the breakdown in talks, officials have said, including how far the Biden administration will go in removing terrorism designations for the Revolutionary Guard Corps and other groups, as well as terms for an expected prisoner exchange.

“When these diplomatic talks break down, the risk of escalation is much bigger,” Higel said. In Baghdad, Irbil and elsewhere in Iraq, the long-running and delicate negotiations about who will be the new government of Iran are coming to an end. Iran, traditionally a kingmaker, has struggled to assert itself over the process as Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr has tried to exclude its allies, Iraqi officials and analysts say.

Irbil is home to the Kurdish Democratic Party, which is one of Sadr’s key partners. In a statement posted to Twitter early Sunday, the cleric urged “forbearance until the achievement of a national majority government.”

Iraqi militia groups backed by Iran have frequently launched rocket and drone strikes on U.S.-linked targets in Iraq and Syria. The attacks that occurred in January were not fatal to U.S. military personnel and focused on the anniversary of an American decision to bomb Iranian Maj. Gen. Qasem Solimani’s convoy leaving Baghdad’s Airport.

Although U.S. officials initially claimed that attack had legal basis, citing Soleimani’s alleged role in imminent attack planning, no further evidence was provided, and the strike pushed Washington and Tehran to the brink of war on Iraqi soil.

That operation triggered an Iranian ballistic missile attack on an Iraqi air base, with dozens of U.S. troops suffering brain injuries. Soleimani’s convoy was attacked by an Iranian ballistic missile attack on an Iraqi air base. This triggered outrage in Iraq and prompted parliament to call for the withdrawal of U.S. troops. Street protestors decried Washington’s role in making their country a battlefield.

Horton reported from Washington. This report was contributed by Mustafa Salim from Baghdad.

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