Rocket hits foreign oil firms’ site in Iraq - GulfToday

Rocket hits foreign oil firms’ site in Iraq

Iraq-Attack

Iraqis inspect the damage at a drilling facility in Burjesiya on Wednesday. Agence France-Presse

A rocket hit a site in southern Iraq used by foreign oil companies on Wednesday, including US energy giant ExxonMobil, wounding three people and threatening to further escalate US-Iran tensions in the region.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack.

Meanwhile, Kuwait and Iraq called for wisdom and reason in dealing with the latest developments in the Gulf region in order to avoid tension and any clashes, Kuwait’s news agency (KUNA) said on Wednesday.

Kuwait’s Emir Sheikh Sabah Al Ahmad Al Sabah visited Iraq on Wednesday to discuss bilateral relations and the latest regional tensions.

An Iraqi security source said it appeared that Iran-backed groups in southern Iraq were behind the Basra incident.

“According to our sources, the team (that launched the rocket) is made up of more than one group and were well trained in missile launching,” the security source said.

He said they had received a tip-off several days ago the US consulate in Basra might be targeted but were taken by surprise when the rocket hit the oil site.

Iranian officials have made no comment about the attack.

Abbas Maher, mayor of the nearby town of Zubair, said he believed Iran-backed groups had specifically targeted Exxon to “send a message” to the United States.

Iraq’s military said three people were wounded in Wednesday’s strike by a short-range Katyusha missile. It struck the Burjesia site, west of Basra, which is near the Zubair oilfield operated Italy’s Eni SpA.

Police said the rocket landed 100 metres from the part of the site used as a residence and operations centre by Exxon. Some 21 Exxon staff were evacuated, a security source said.

Zubair mayor Maher said the rocket was fired from farmland around 3-4km from the site.

A second rocket landed to the northwest of Burjesia, near a site of oil services company Oilserv, but did not explode, he said.

“We cannot separate this from regional developments, meaning the US-Iranian conflict,” Maher said.

“These incidents have political objectives it seems some sides did not like the return of Exxon staff.”

Reuters