Iranian-backed Iraqi militias were most likely behind a deadly rocket barrage on a U.S.-led coalition base in northern Iraq earlier this week, but it’s not clear whether Iran had any role in directing the attack, experts and a U.S. official said on Friday.
The attack on Irbil on Monday in the semi-autonomous Kurdish region of Iraq bore the telltale signs of the Shiite militias supported by Iran, with tactics, weapons and online posts that resembled previous assaults on U.S. targets in Iraq, a current U.S. official, a former senior U.S. diplomat, and a regional expert told NBC News.
Iran said on Tuesday it had no links with the group that claimed to have carried out the attack.
“Iran considers Iraq’s stability and security as a key issue for the region … and rejects any action that disturbs the peace and order in that country,” said Iranian foreign ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh, according to state media. He condemned what he called “suspicious attempts to attribute (the attack) to Iran.”
A U.S. official familiar with the matter, as well as other regional experts, said it was unclear whether Iran directed or encouraged its militia allies to carry out the attack…
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