Rep. McCaul: Group that claimed it was behind Erbil rocket attack has ties to Iran-backed fighters
“The group that claimed responsibility for this heinous attack” on the Kurdistan Region’s capital “has a history of claiming assaults on coalition targets in Iraq,” McCaul stated
Laurie Mylroie – February 18 2021 14:06 – WASHINGTON DC, United States (Kurdistan 24) – The senior Republican on the US House Foreign Affairs Committee, Rep. Michael McCaul of Texas, issued a statement on Wednesday that differed significantly from those the Biden administration has made about Monday’s rocket attack on Erbil.
Above all, McCaul pointed a finger at Iran and its proxies in Iraq, as Behnam Ben Taleblu, a senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, observed to Kurdistan 24.
“The words Iran and Shiite militia group” have been “absent from the official Biden administration statements,” he complained. “Yet the existing fact pattern in Iraq from May 2019 to the present” shows “Iran and its proxies are the most likely culprits behind rocket and mortar fire at US positions in Iraq.”
“The group that claimed responsibility for this heinous attack” on the Kurdistan Region’s capital “has a history of claiming assaults on coalition targets in Iraq,” McCaul stated, alluding to the group calling itself Saraya Awliya al-Dam (Guardians of Blood).
“Importantly,” he continued, “this group is widely believed to have ties to Iran-backed fighters in Iraq.”
McCaul urged the Biden administration to hold accountable those behind the assault, “including Iran or Iran-linked entities, if they are found to be responsible,” while he concluded, “I will keep a close eye on any investigation into these brutal attacks.”
McCaul did not go as far as many analysts and journalists in stating that Tehran was, almost certainly, behind the attack, but he did imply it was the leading suspect – which the Biden administration has not done.
US Continues to Wait for Results of Investigation
Rather, the State Department and Pentagon continued to say on Wednesday what they had said in the immediate aftermath of the attack: they do not want to prejudge the results of an investigation that has just begun.