AS many as 12 missiles struck near a sprawling US consulate complex in the northern Iraqi city of Irbil on Sunday, in what officials said was a strike launched from neighbouring Iran.

No injuries were reported in the attack, which marked a significant escalation in hostility between the US and Iran, which has often played out in Iraq, whose government is allied with both countries.

An Iraqi official in Baghdad initially said several missiles had hit the US consulate in Irbil and that it was the target of the attack.

Later, Lawk Ghafari, the head of Kurdistan’s foreign media office, said none of the missiles had struck the US facility but that areas around the compound had been hit.

A US defence official said it was still uncertain exactly how many missiles were fired and exactly where they landed. A second US official said there had been no damage to any US government facility and that there was no indication the target was the consulate building, which is new and currently unoccupied.

Satellite broadcast channel Kurdistan24, which is located near the US consulate, went on air shortly after the attack, showing shattered glass and debris on its studio floor.

The attack came several days after Iran said it would retaliate for an Israeli strike near Damascus in Syria that killed two members of its Revolutionary Guard.

On Sunday, Iran’s state-run Irna news agency quoted Iraqi media acknowledging the attacks in Irbil, without saying where they originated.

The missile barrage also came as negotiations in Vienna over Tehran’s nuclear deal hit a “pause” amid Russian demands about sanctions targeting Moscow over its war on Ukraine.

The Iraqi security officials said there were no casualties from the attack, which they said occurred after midnight and caused material damage in the area.

One of the Iraqi officials said the ballistic missiles were fired from Iran, without elaborating. He said the projectiles were the Iranian-made Fateh-110, likely to have been fired in retaliation for the deaths of the two Revolutionary Guards in Syria.

Another US official said in a statement that the US condemned what it called an “outrageous attack against Iraqi sovereignty and display of violence”.

US forces stationed at Irbil’s airport compound have come under fire from rocket and drone attacks in the past, with officials blaming Iran-backed groups.

The top US commander for the Middle East has repeatedly warned about the increasing threats of attacks from Iran and Iranian-backed militias on troops and allies in Iraq and Syria.

In an interview with the Associated Press in December, Marine General Frank McKenzie said that, while US forces in Iraq have moved to a non-combat role, Iran and its proxies still want all American troops to leave the country. As a result, he said, that may trigger more attacks.

The Biden administration decided last July to end the US combat mission in Iraq by December 31, and US forces gradually moved to an advisory role last year. The troops will still provide air support and other military aid for Iraq’s fight against so-called Islamic State.

The US presence in Iraq has long been a flash point for Tehran, but tensions spiked after a US drone strike near Baghdad airport in January 2020 killed a top Iranian general.

In retaliation, Iran launched a barrage of missiles at al-Asad air base, where US troops were stationed. More than 100 service members suffered traumatic brain injuries in the blasts.

More recently, Iranian proxies are believed responsible for an assassination attempt late last year on Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi.

And officials have said they believe Iran was behind a drone attack last October at the military outpost in southern Syria where American troops are based. No US personnel were killed or injured in the attack.

Al-Kadhimi tweeted: “The aggression which targeted the dear city of Irbil and spread fear amongst its inhabitants is an attack on the security of our people.”

Masrour Barzani, prime minister of the semi-autonomous Kurdish-controlled region, condemned the attack, saying in a Facebook post that Irbil “will not bow to the cowards who carried out the terrorist attack”.