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One contractor dead, six others injured in Iraq rocket attack

People survey damages from a rocket attack, at the airport of Erbil, Iraq that left one contractor dead and six others, including a U.S. service member, injured on Monday. Photo by Gailan Haji EPA-EFE
People survey damages from a rocket attack, at the airport of Erbil, Iraq that left one contractor dead and six others, including a U.S. service member, injured on Monday. Photo by Gailan Haji EPA-EFE

Feb. 15 (UPI) -- One civilian contractor was killed and six other people were injured in a rocket attack in Iraq on Monday.

"Initial reports that Indirect Fire landed on Coalition Forces in Erbil tonight. There was one civilian contractor killed, five civilian contractors injured and one U.S. service member injured," Operation Inherent Resolve Spokesman Col. Wayne Marotto wrote on Twitter.

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U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said that initial reports indicated that "several" of the contractors were American.

Four of the five contractors who were injured are American citizens and initial reports suggested the contractor who was killed was not American, defense officials told CNN and The Washington Post.

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"We express our condolences to the loved ones of the civilian contractor killed in this attack and to the innocent Iraqi people and their families who are suffering these ruthless acts of violence," said Blinken.

A U.S. defense official told The Washington Post that the attack appeared to involve 14 rockets targeting a U.S. facility near the Erbil airport in northeastern Iraq.

The Interior Ministry of the Kurdish Regional Government said at least three rockets struck near the compound where the base and the airport are located.

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Iraqi President Barham Salih called the attack "a dangerous escalation and a criminal terrorist attack" and Kurdish Prime Minister Masrour Barzani called on "all Kurdistanis" to remain calm.

No group immediately claimed responsibility for the attack and a defense official told CNN the United States is gathering intelligence to determine where the rockets were launched from.

Barzani also said he had instructed security services to launch a full investigation into the attack and that he had spoken with Blinken and Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi "on ways to cooperate and identify the outlaws behind this terror attack."

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