US shoots down Iranian drone that appeared to threaten its forces in Iraq

() — The United States sent an F-15 jet to shoot down an Iranian drone that appeared to be heading toward US forces in Erbil, Iraq, on Wednesday, a US official told .

US forces launched the plane after tracking dozens of Iranian short-range ballistic missiles targeting Kurdish positions in northern Iraq on Wednesday, according to two other US officials. The initial assessment is that the launches originated inside Iran, the officials said.

“This was a significant incident,” said one of the officials.

“At approximately 2:10 p.m. local time, US forces shot down an Iranian Mojer-6 unmanned aerial vehicle heading in the direction of Erbil as it appeared to be a threat to USCENTCOM forces in the area,” he said. a statement from the US Central Command, which oversees the US military presence in the Middle East.

Early Wednesday, nine people were killed, including civilians, after Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) attacked Kurdish separatist groups in northern Iraq, the health minister told . of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG), Saman Barzanji.

The IRGC used missiles and drones to attack the offices of Kurdish groups, designated by Iran as terrorist organizations, Tasnim, an Iranian state-aligned agency, said, citing the IRGC.

US Central Command condemned the IRGC’s “unprovoked attack” on Iraq.

“Such indiscriminate attacks threaten innocent lives and put at risk the stability of the region that has been fought so hard for,” US Central Command senior spokesman Colonel Joe Buccino said in the statement.

No US soldiers were killed or injured as a result of the IRGC attacks, and no US equipment was damaged, US Central Command said.

Iran has attacked militants based in Iraq’s Kurdish region in the past, but the attacks have increased since the weekend. Tehran accuses Kurdish groups of destabilizing the country by supporting protesters who have demonstrated against Iranian authorities following the death of Iranian woman Mahsa Amini, according to Fars, a government-aligned news agency.

Both US officials emphasized, at this point, the belief that the Iranians were seeking to harm Kurdish forces to potentially divert attention from the ongoing protests in Iran. Protests have broken out in western parts of Iran, home to many Kurds angry over Amini’s death.

Launching such a large number of ballistic missiles raises concerns about long-term Iranian intentions and possible escalation, the officials said.

‘s Muwafaq Mohammad and Aqeel Najim contributed to this report.

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Written by Editor TLN

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