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Erbil Blast: Car Bomb Explodes Outside U.S. Consulate in Iraq, Official Says

ISIS has claimed responsibility for the deadly car bomb attack in front of the U.S. Consulate that killed at least two people.
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/ Source: NBC News

An American is among eight people wounded when a car bomb exploded outside the U.S. Consulate in the Iraqi city of Erbil, a Kurdish medical official said. Two people were killed in the blast.

Dr. Zawand Al Rasheed of Erbil's West Emergency Hospital said the eight wounded were brought to his hospital after the explosion, which occurred around 5:40 p.m. Three of the eight wounded will remain at his hospital overnight, but he said none of the patients held overnight have life-threatening injuries. The identities of the two dead are unclear.

Rasheed said the American woman is a teacher at a local primary school. The director of the school visited the hospital earlier and identified the woman as American, Rasheed said,

Rasheed said the woman suffered second-degree burns, is in stable condition, and will "most probably" be discharged Saturday.

The U.S. State Department said there are no reports of injuries to consulate personnel.

"The United States condemns the attack in Erbil today in which a vehicle-born improvised explosive device (VBIED) detonated outside the U.S. Consulate and took a number of innocent lives," State Department acting spokesperson Marie Harf said in a statement. "We extend our deepest condolences to the families of those who were injured and killed."

An Iraqi-based supporter of the terror group ISIS said on Twitter that ISIS is responsible for the attack. ISIS has not officially claimed responsibility, but the supporter is prominent and has released unreported details about previous ISIS-linked attacks, according to Flashpoint Intelligence, a security company and NBC News partner.

Talmadge Payne, an American working as a consultant for a non-government organization in Erbil, told NBC News that he was sitting on the roof of his hotel, about a half-mile from the consulate, and felt the blast.

"If I could feel the blast from here it must have been pretty significant,” he said. “The room shook, and a few things fell off the shelves."

He said there was a firefight, then about 10 minutes of calm, then more gunfire.

The Associated Press, citing one of its reporters at the scene, said that the blast set nearby cars on fire.

Erbil is in the Iraqi north and is the Kurdish regional capital. The Kurds, backed by American airstrikes, have been fighting ISIS outside the city, and have driven the militants back in recent months.

The consulate is in a district called Ein Kawa, an upscale, mostly Christian neighborhood near the city center.


— with Abigail Williams