Iran condemns ‘destabilizing’ attack on Baghdad airport

Six rockets were fired into the Iraqi capital’s airport on Friday, causing damage to one runway and two civilian planes, but no one was killed or seriously injured. It was the latest in a series of attacks that the United States has attributed to Iran-affiliated armed organizations.

The perpetrators of the attack did not immediately come forward.

Iran’s foreign ministry spokesman, Saeed Khatib Zadeh, issued a statement condemning “the targeting of Baghdad airport” in an action that tries to “destabilize” Iraq. The attack, he added, was part of a larger effort to “destabilize” Iraq.

He continued, “Such suspicious activities have exacerbated insecurity and turmoil in Iraq, creating the opportunity for ill-wishers and rebels to gain ground and impairing the provision of government services to Iraqi civilians.”

The rockets landed near civil infrastructure at the airport, causing damage to a Boeing 767 that was out of operation and belonged to Iraqi Airways, which is a state-owned company.

Kuwait Airways announced on Twitter that it was suspending all flights to Iraq as a result of the attack on the carrier.

Several rocket and drone strikes against the United States embassy in Baghdad’s high-security Green Zone, a US diplomatic facility at the airport, and troops from a US-led coalition stationed at Iraqi sites have taken place in recent months.

After the United States executed Major General Qassim Soleimani, commander of the Quds Force of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards, and his Iraqi deputy, Abu Mahdi al-Mohandas, in a drone strike near Baghdad airport in January 2020, such attacks increased in frequency and intensity.

Despite the fact that the attacks are rarely claimed, they are usually attributed to pro-Iran militias, which demand that US soldiers stationed in Iraq to assist Iraqi forces in their fight against the extremist Islamic State organization leave the country.

Although the US-led coalition’s combat mission in Iraq came to an end in December, some 3,500 of its personnel remain in the country to provide training, advice, and assistance to Iraqi national forces and security forces.

Recent rocket assaults in Iraq have occurred at a time when the country’s domestic political situation is unstable.

Iraqi politicians and political parties have recently been targeted by violence, which has primarily taken the form of grenade strikes but has also included a rocket attack near the home of a senior politician, as tensions surrounding the establishment of a new government have grown.

In an election held in October, the Fatah (Conquest) Alliance, the political wing of the pro-Iran ex-paramilitary alliance Hashed al-Shaba, was defeated in the majority of its constituencies. It claimed that the polls had been rigged.

According to Khatib Zadeh, Iran has always supported the establishment and maintenance of security in Iraq as well as the efforts made by the Iraqi government to maintain stability. “Iran has always supported the establishment and maintenance of security in Iraq,” he continued.