An Iranian drone attack in Iraqi Kurdistan was conducted for the purpose of targeting Israeli intelligence operatives, a report has stated.
According to a statement by Iraqi Kurdistan's counter-terrorism service, an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) with a bomb attached to it exploded on a road in the region's capital, Erbil, yesterday, reportedly injuring three people and damaging several cars.
Following the incident, Iraqi Prime Minister, Mustafa Al-Kadhimi, told his Iraqi Kurdish counterpart, Masrour Barzani, in a phone call that Baghdad will cooperate with Erbil to find the perpetrators of the attack and hold them accountable.
The UN's Assistance Mission for Iraq then stated on Twitter that "Iraq does not need self-proclaimed armed arbiters. Asserting State authority is essential. If the perpetrators are known, call them out and hold them to account."
Bomb-laden drone hit Erbil-Pirmam road, causing civilian injuries and damage. Another reckless act. As stated before, Iraq does not need self-proclaimed armed arbiters. Asserting State authority is essential. If the perpetrators are known, call them out and hold them to account.
— UNAMI (@UNIraq) June 8, 2022
Iran's Fars News Agency, however, has reported that the drone was Iranian and was targeting a hit squad from the Israeli intelligence agency, Mossad. Iranian media further claimed that the drone – which was reported to be a kamikaze – successfully killed Ilak Ron, the alleged commander of Mossad's assassination unit, and a special operations soldier named Amit Romen.
Israeli media denied those reports, however, and has mocked the fact that the real name of the alleged Mossad commander – Ilak Ron – was Asa Flots, which means "made a fart" in Hebrew.
The drone attack in Erbil is suspected to be a response to a series of deaths of senior Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) officials in recent months, who Israel seemed to admit it killed. In May, the IRGC was reported to have fired artillery shots onto an area north of Erbil to target what is described as terrorist bases and, two months before that, it fired ballistic missiles into the Kurdish region to target "a strategic centre for conspiracy and mischief of the Zionists".
Iran and its proxy militias in the region have long accused the Iraqi Kurdish region and its semi-autonomous administration of covertly cooperating with Israel, with an Iraqi Shia militia claiming last month that Erbil is training armed groups with "Israeli support". Iraqi officials have reportedly said that no evidence has been found regarding a Mossad presence or base in Erbil.
Haaretz: Downed Iran drones in Iraq were destined for Israel