Iran-backed terror group Guardians of Blood threatens more bloodshed after deadly rocket attack on US airbase
IRAN-backed terror group Guardians of Blood have threatened more bloodshed after the deadly rocket assault on a U.S airbase in Iraq on Monday.
14 rockets were fired at the airbase hosting US troops in Erbil yesterday which killed one contractor and left nine others wounded.
The attack on Erbil was claimed by the little known Iran-backed group calling itself, Awliyaa al-Dam, or Guardians of Blood, Al Jazeera reported.
Over the past year, dozens of groups have claimed rocket attacks but security officials say they are a front for the pro-Iran groups including Kataib Hezbollah and Asaib Ahl al-Haq.
According to SITE Intelligence Group, a non-profit that tracks online activity of armed organisations, said that the Guardians of Blood would carry out further attacks.
“The American occupation will not be safe from our strikes in any inch of the homeland, even in Kurdistan, where we promise we will carry out other qualitative operations,” the Guardians of Blood are claimed to have said.
At least two Iraqi civilians were also injured along with several cars and property damaged.
The U.S has vowed to "hold accountable those responsible" in Monday's rocket attack with the U.S Secretary of State Antony Blinken claiming that Washington was "outraged" by the attack.
"I have reached out to Kurdistan Regional Government Prime Minister Masrour Barzani to discuss the incident and to pledge our support for all efforts to investigate and hold accountable those responsible,” Blinken said in a statement last night.
Meanwhile, Mr Barzani said the Kurdistan region will confront "terrorists and foes" following Monday's attack.
“Regardless of the enemies’ and foes’ attempts to harm our nation [and] intended to deteriorate the Kurdistan Region’s stability…we will confront them with a stronger will," Barzani said in a statement today.
"They will not stop us on our path towards prosperity."
After last night's attack, Mr Barzani immediately condemned the perpetrators and urged all Kurdistanis to remain calm.
He also tweeted that a full investigation would follow to "identify the outlaws behind this terror attack."
Iraqi President Barham Salih said it was a "criminal terrorist attack", warning of a "dangerous escalation" in the already volatile region.
Today Iran that it opposed any acts that harmed Iraq's security.
“Iran considers Iraq’s stability and security as a key issue for the region…and rejects any action that disturbs the peace and order in that country,” Iran's foreign ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh told state media.
He condemned "suspicious attempts to attribute [the attack] to Iran".
In December a U.S contractor was killed in a rocket attack on a base in the Kirkuk province which prompted the U.S to respond with air strikes against Kataib Hezbollah.
Tensions between the U.S and Iran reached boiling point in December after former President Donald Trump issued a threat saying he would "hold Iran responsible" for any deaths after the US Embassy in Baghdad was attacked.
Trump tweeted: “Our embassy in Baghdad got hit Sunday by several rockets. Three rockets failed to launch.”
“Guess where they were from: IRAN. Now we hear chatter of additional attacks against Americans in Iraq,” the president wrote, alongside a photo of the three rockets.
“Some friendly health advice to Iran: If one American is killed, I will hold Iran responsible. Think it over.”
In early December, the U.S withdrew some staff from its embassy in Baghdad, temporarily reducing personnel ahead of the first anniversary of the US airstrike that killed Iran’s top general – Qasem Soleimani.
Soleimani was killed in a targeted attack – ordered by Trump after Iranian-backed militias had fired rockets at US targets – outside Baghdad's airport on January 3.
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