The Cable

State Department: No Americans Injured in Blast at U.S. Consulate in Erbil

The Islamic State claims credit for car bomb outside U.S. diplomatic post in Iraq's relatively peaceful Kurdish region.

IRAQ-KURDS-DEFENCE-GRADUATION
Kurdish Peshmerga fighters take part in a graduation ceremony on April 16, 2015 at the Kurdistan Training Coordination Center (KTTC) of Arbil, the capital of the autonomous Kurdish region of northern Iraq. The newly formed KTTC, a joint effort of the Dutch, Italian, British and German governments, aims to unify the military assistance of these countries. AFP PHOTO / SAFIN HAMED (Photo credit should read SAFIN HAMED/AFP/Getty Images)

State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf says no American diplomats or personnel were injured or are missing after a car bomb exploded outside the U.S. Consulate in northern Iraq’s relatively peaceful Kurdistan region.

The Islamic State claimed responsibility for the Friday attack, according to SITE Intelligence, which monitors online jihadi messages.

In Washington, Harf told reporters that “it wouldn’t be surprising” for the Islamic State to target the U.S. diplomatic post in the Kurdish capital of Erbil, “but I can’t confirm it.”

It was not immediately clear whether local Iraqi staffers or consulate employees from other nations were injured in the bombing.

A Twitter account attributed to the Kirkuk branch of the Islamic State in Iraq reported that the explosion “led to killing and wounding many” at the consulate. Kirkuk is a mixed-ethnicity city not far from Erbil.

The U.S. Consulate in Erbil is located in the mostly Christian neighborhood of Ankawa, which is near the city’s airport and is dotted with shops and bars.

Insurgent attacks in Erbil, which is far more stable and prosperous than the rest of Iraq, are rare — although the Islamic State last summer came close to invading the city.

 Photo Credit: Safin Hamed / Stringer

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