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US Says Erbil Rocket Attack Underscores Importance of Continued Work

US Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III has argued that the recent rocket attack on Erbil, the capital of Kurdistan Region, underscores the importance of “our work” in the region.

Secretary Austin made the remarks on Thursday at the second and final day of the NATO Defense Ministerial, during which NATO operations in Iraq and Afghanistan and alliance’s military readiness were focused, his office said in a statement.

“On Iraq, the Secretary reaffirmed the U.S. commitment to the enduring defeat of ISIS, respecting Iraq’s sovereignty, and ensuring long-term regional stability. He noted that the recent rocket attack in Erbil underscores the importance of our continued work in the region,” the statement said.

Meanwhile, the US defense secretary further expressed his support for NATO plans to expand its role in Iraq, as it said that 3,500 more troops will be sent to Iraq in response to increased terrorist activities by the Islamic State (IS) in the region.

He, according to the statement, “welcomed the expanded role for NATO Mission Iraq, and expressed confidence that all of the work done to date with the Iraqi government and security forces will lead to a self-sustainable mission,” the statement continued.

Earlier on Monday night, February 15, multiple rockets landed in Erbil and resulted in the killing of one civil contractor of the US-led Coalition forces, while eight others, including a US service member, were injured.