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Iraq: Drones strike near US forces at Erbil airport

Three drone strikes hit near Erbil International Airport, where US forces are stationed, local officials confirm
The international airport in Erbil, capital of the northern Iraqi Kurdish autonomous region, on 24 December 2019 (AFP/File photo)

A drone attack hit near US forces stationed at Erbil International Airport in northern Iraq on Saturday, Iraqi Kurdish security officials have confirmed.

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. A second statement by the Kurdish counter-terrorism force said the attack had been carried out by explosive-laden drones.

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The attack took place just before midnight, local time. There were no immediate reports of damage or casualties. Witnesses said they heard at least six explosions in the area. 

Warning sirens had gone off near the airport, as well as around the US Consulate in Erbil, witnesses said.

The US State Department did not respond to Middle East Eye's request for comment by the time of this article's publication. 

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

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 group attack against a checkpoint in the country's north, around 65 kilometres south of Kirkuk.