Two attack drones targeting American and allied forces in Iraq were shot down early Wednesday without causing casualties, a US defense official said.
The official did not say who launched the drones, but pro-Iranian forces have threatened to attack American troops in Iraq because of Washington’s support for Israel in its war with Hamas.
“An attempted attack against US and coalition forces in Iraq was disrupted” early on Wednesday, the US official said, referring to the international coalition against the Islamic State (IS) jihadist group.
“Two one-way drones were shot down in the attack. There were no injuries to any forces during the attempted attack,” the official added, without specifying who downed them.
Kurdish counter-terrorism forces said in a statement that an explosives-laden drone had crashed Wednesday in the Arbil governorate in northern Iraq.
The statement did not say the cause of the crash, and it was unclear if the drone was one of the two mentioned by the US defense official.
The drone attack came a day after a strike on a hospital in Gaza left hundreds dead, with Hamas blaming Israel, which in turn said another Palestinian armed group was responsible.
Hamas launched a surprise assault inside Israel on October 7, killing more than 1,400 people, mostly civilians, and taking hostages back into Gaza.
After Israel declared war and began retaliatory strikes, nearly 3,500 people have been killed in the Gaza Strip, mostly civilians as well, according to Hamas health authorities.
Pro-Iranian factions in Iraq have accused Israel and the United States of carrying out a “massacre” in Gaza, with one of them — the powerful Ketaeb Hezbollah group — demanding that American forces leave Iraq or face attack.
There are around 2,500 American soldiers and a thousand troops from other members of the anti-IS coalition in Iraq in a training and advisory role, after the official end of their combat mission in December 2021.