A USAF F-15 fighter jet was scrambled to shoot down an Iranian drone that appeared to be heading towards US forces in Erbil, Iraq, on Sep. 28, 2022.
According to two other US officials, US forces launched the F-15 after tracking dozens of Iranian short range ballistic missiles headed for Kurdish positions in northern Iraq Wednesday. The officials said that the initial assessment is the launches originated inside Iran.
“This was a significant incident,” one of the officials said.
According to a US Central Command statement;
“US Central Command condemns the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps’ unprovoked attack in Iraq’s Erbil Governorate this morning. Such indiscriminate attacks threaten innocent civilians and risk the hard-fought stability of the region. “No US forces were wounded or killed as a result of the strikes and there is no damage to US equipment.
“At approximately 2:10 PM local time, US forces brought down an Iranian Mojer-6 Unmanned Aerial Vehicle headed in the direction of Erbil as it appeared as a threat to CENTCOM forces in the area.”
The Qods Mohajer-6 is an Intelligence Surveillance Target Acquisition and Reconnaissance (ISTAR) UAV capable of carrying a multispectral surveillance payload and/or up to four precision-guided munitions. The UAV is in service with both the IRGC Ground Forces and the IRGC Navy. The Mohajer-6 complements the larger Shahed 129 operated by the third IRGC branch, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Air and Space Force (IRGC-ASF). Three have also been delivered to the Iranian Army.
The Mohajer-6 entered serial production in February 2018.
The statement continued;
“CENTCOM personnel operate in Iraq at the invitation of the Government of Iraq to advise, assist, and enable partner forces in the ensuring the lasting defeat of ISIS.
“CENTCOM forces, in support of partnered forces in Iraq, are assessing the situation.”
After Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps targeted Kurdish separatist groups in northern Iraq earlier Wednesday, nine people were killed including civilians Kurdistan Regional Government [KRG] Health Minister Saman Barzanji told CNN.
The IRGC used missiles and drones to target the offices of Kurdish groups, designated by Iran as terrorist organizations, Iranian state-aligned news Tasnim said quoting the IRGC.
Both US officials emphasized, at this point, the belief is the Iranians were seeking to harm Kurdish forces to potentially divert attention from the current protests in Iran. Protests have raged in western parts of Iran, home to many Kurds angered by the death of Amini.
The launch of such a large number of ballistic missiles does raise concerns about long term Iranian intentions and potential escalation, the officials said.
Photo credit: U.S. Air Force and Tasnim News