Iran’s Revolutionary Guards said yesterday they fired missiles and drones at militant targets in the Kurdish region of neighbouring northern Iraq, where authorities said 13 people were killed, Reuters reported.
The strikes were reported after Iranian authorities accused armed Iranian Kurdish dissidents of involvement in unrest now shaking Iran, especially in the northwest where most of the country’s population of over ten million Kurds live.
Thirteen people were killed and 58 wounded in the attacks near Erbil and Sulaimaniya in Iraqi Kurdistan, Iraq’s state news agency said citing its counter-terrorism service in Kurdistan.
Iraqi Kurdish sources said drone strikes targeted at least ten bases of Iranian Kurds near Sulaimaniya in Iraqi Kurdistan yesterday morning, without elaborating about possible casualties.
The US Army Central Command said it downed an Iranian drone yesterday while it was on its way to Erbil, adding that the drone posed a threat to US personnel in the region.
“No U.S. forces were wounded or killed as a result of the strikes and there is no damage to U.S. equipment,” it said in a statement. A senior member of Komala, an exiled Iranian Kurdish opposition party, told Reuters that several of their offices were struck as well.
Tariq Haidari, mayor of the Iraqi Kurdish city of Koye, said two people including a pregnant woman were killed and 12 wounded. Some of the wounded were rushed in critical condition to hospital in Erbil, he said.
The Revolutionary Guards, Iran’s elite military and security force, said after the attacks that they would continue targeting what it called terrorists in the region.
“This operation will continue with our full determination until the threat is effectively repelled, terrorist group bases are dismantled, and the authorities of the Kurdish region assume their obligations and responsibilities,” the Guards said in a statement read on state television.
Iraq’s foreign ministry condemned the attacks.
Iraq’s foreign ministry spokesman said in a statement that the ministry would summon the Iranian ambassador to inform him of Iraq’s objection to the attacks on Iraqi territories and that Iraq considers this action a violation of its sovereignty.
Protests erupted in Iran this month over the death of a young Iranian Kurdish woman, Mahsa Amini, in police custody.
Amini, 22, from the northwestern Kurdish city of Saqez, was arrested on 13 September in the capital Tehran for “unsuitable attire” by the morality police, who enforce the Islamic Republic’s strict dress code. She died three days later in hospital after falling into a coma, sparking the first big show of opposition on Iran’s streets since authorities crushed protests against a rise in gasoline prices in 2019.