US Shoots Down Iranian Drone in Northern Iraq, Condemns Attack

As Iran carried out attacks across the Kurdistan region in northern Iraq on Wednesday, the US forces scrambled an F-15 jet to shoot down an Iranian drone that appeared to threaten US forces in Erbil, a US official said.

According to US Central Command’s (CENTCOM) communications director Colonel Joe Buccino, the Iranian Mojer-6 Unmanned Aerial Vehicle was headed in the direction of Erbil and appeared as a threat to USCENTCOM forces in the area.

CENTCOM oversees the US military presence in the Middle East and its personnel operate in Iraq at the invitation of the Iraq Government to advise, assist, and enable its forces in ensuring the lasting defeat of ISIS.

According to two other US officials which described this as a “significant incident,” the initial assessment showed that the drone launches originated inside Iran.

Kurdistan Regional Government [KRG] Health Minister Saman Barzanji informed that nine people were killed, including civilians, after Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps targeted Kurdish separatist groups in northern Iraq earlier Wednesday.

Iranian state-aligned news Tasnim previously quoted the IRGC as noting that their attacks using missiles and drones are targeting the offices of Kurdish groups that Tehran designated as terrorist organizations.

According to unconfirmed reports by Iran International, a US citizen was also killed in Iran’s attacks in northern Iraq though full details of this incident still remain to be confirmed. This would be a major escalation even if the US citizen was linked to one of the Kurdish opposition groups.

The CENTCOM condemned the IRGC’s unprovoked attacks inside Iraq in a statement that was later echoed by the White House vowing to disrupt Tehran’s destabilizing behavior in the region.

State Department Spokesman Ned Price called the attacks an unjustified violation of Iraqi sovereignty and territorial integrity, stressing that the US stands with Iraq’s leaders in the Kurdistan region and vowing that Washington would continue disrupting Iran’s destabilizing activities across the Middle East by pursuing sanctions and other means.

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