After 12 ballistic missiles were launched from the Kermanshah Province of Iran on Sunday at a sprawling U.S. consulate complex in the northern Iraqi city of Irbil, which lies on the border with Iran, Iranian television claimed that the missiles were aimed at a secret Israeli facility, reports Channel 14.
Iranian news outlets are connecting the missile barrage launched from Iran at the American consulate in Iraq are saying that the compound hosted Mossad offices.
Up to 12 missiles hit an area adjacent to the consulate complex in the northern Iraqi city in a strike that both a U.S. defense official and an Iraqi official said was launched from Iranian territory.
No injuries were reported in the attack, which represented a dramatic escalation between Washington and Iran as the latest nuclear talks took place in Vienna. Tensions between the enemy countries have often played out in Iraq, whose government is allied with both nations.
But in what may be an attempt to save face, Iran is now claiming that the American Consulate was also hosting a secret Israeli intelligence headquarters, which was the objective of the attack.
An Iraqi official in Baghdad initially reported that several missiles struck the U.S. consulate in Irbil and that it was the target of the attack. Later, Lawk Ghafari, the head of Kurdistan’s foreign media office, admitted that none of the missiles hit the American complex but that areas surrounding the compound were hit.
The U.S. defense official said that the precise amount of missiles launched was still unclear and exactly where they landed. Another American official said there was no damage at any U.S. government complex. There was no indication that the target was the consulate structure, which is newly built and not even occupied.
Both the Iraqi and U.S. officials were unauthorized to discuss the attack with the media and spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity.
Satellite images showed shattered glass and debris.
The attack came several days following Iran’s threat to avenge an Israeli strike near Damascus, Syria, that killed two Revolutionary Guard officers.